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Why Overqualified Candidates Might Be A Myth

The idea that overqualified candidates make terrible employees has been around as long as the coffee break. The idea of not hiring overqualified candidates is not without merit, as the Harvard Business Review indicates that a study by Israeli scientists found that overqualified workers do tend to be more miserable with their jobs and quit more often than people who are considered a perfect fit for their tasks. But as the job market continues to shift, the idea of hiring overqualified workers is suddenly becoming something that employers are adopting more and more.

RELATED: Why Inefficient Hiring is Holding You Back

Overqualified Workers Have An Infectious Enthusiasm

According to Fortune Magazine, overqualified workers tend to have a higher level of enthusiasm for their work, and that affects the rest of their team. When two overqualified workers are put together in the same work group, their synergy and enthusiasm become infectious for the rest of the group and productivity goes up. In this way, overqualified workers actually help to reduce turnover and increase productivity.

Opportunity Is A Good Draw

Overqualified workers enjoy the luxury of feeling completely comfortable in their new job from the very first day of work. The learning curve is short, so the ability to get up to speed and be productive is very strong. As long as the company offers a career path of some sort, overqualified workers will find that being able to learn the company culture while not being overwhelmed by their jobs can be an excellent way to advance their careers.

The Chance To Get Involved

In some cases, overqualified employees find that they are able to branch out into other parts of corporate life to help them feel like their talents are being utilized. Companies should reach out to overqualified employees and encourage them to join the committees that plan social gatherings, and get involved in employee work groups that make suggestions on how to improve corporate productivity. An overqualified employee can feel very satisfied with their work if they feel like they are making a difference in the company's future.

Promoted To A Level Of Incompetence

Sometimes overqualified employees are only overqualified on paper. If someone managed to rise to a position where they felt unqualified, then they would not be adverse to dropping back into something that makes them feel comfortable. Employers should not assume that an overqualified employee is always looking for advancement, because that may not be the case.

With the labor market in a dynamic state of change, the convenient labels that used to be put on candidates no longer apply. An employee that used to be overqualified just a few years ago may now become one of the most valuable employees your company has ever hired. A company that has a lot to offer can take the risk of bringing on an employee who has an extensive background.

What do HR managers and recruiters need to do to incentivize hires they know are overqualified to accept positions?

George N Root III is a professional freelance writer who has expertise in topics such as Internet marketing, business, advertising, and personal finance.

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