Amy Gallo recent wrote her piece in Harvard Business Review titled "Should You Hire an Overqualified Candidate?" In this posting she dives into the common reasons why not to hire the candidate who is perceived as overqualified. But what she says about why companies might want to look at those over-experienced or overqualified candidates is more intriguing.
Could this person who has all of this experience from another industry or in another role be able to come in and quickly add value to parts of your organization that you are currently planning for? Can you expand a particular role to put those "extra" skills to use now or in the future? Businesses are placing an emphasis on workforce planning and succession planning now more than ever. You need to be two or three steps ahead of your hiring needs in order to stay competitive for the future. That "overqualified" candidate just might be the perfect fit for where the business is trying to go. Think about how he or she can fit in now and what a great value to the business they will be in a year or two once the organization has progressed. If you plan your business' hiring needs with only the here and now in mind, your hope for growth will soon hit a wall
Make sure you have a plan
When conducting interviews for our clients, we are always looking for people with drive to progress beyond where they are today. Candidates oftentimes have goals for where they want to be in 5 or 10 years. If you are planning ahead and hiring someone who may have more experience than is need for the current job but who is perfect for that next step, set the expectations up front. Let that person know there is a plan and that plan is dependent upon performance. The "overqualified" candidate will surely stick around if they are performing well and know that the plan is unfolding before them. If you have set the expectation right up front and share with them that 5 year plan for the business and for them there is no reason why they should not continue to be engaged and enthusiastic about their role.
Don't be cheap
Just because you can hire a candidate with more qualifications for cheaper than they are worth because of a down economy...DON'T. And this goes for any candidate that is an A player. If the that person is that strong, don't low ball them. Remember that you are always competiting for top candidates. If you can't pay, pass.
Any way that you slice it, hiring is a game of risk. Our job in that game is to mitigate the risk for our clients by being consultants in the process and doing our diligence on how candidates fit the current and future business needs. In certain cases, it is worth the slight increase in short term risk to go out and get that "overqualified" candidate to over-meet a current need and plan well for the future. You have to know the market, your competition, and most importantly, the person or candidate. In the right circumstances the overqualified candidate is the best match for your businesses needs.