The Benefits of Hiring an Overqualified Employee

For job seekers, it’s the ultimate ironic failure: “Sorry, we can’t hire you…because you’re too qualified.” For the company, it’s a form of instinctual risk management, a (sometimes irrational) way to deal with a situation that doesn’t fit the norm.

The fear generated by an overqualified hire comes from an implied uncertainty. Is there something secretly wrong with them or their abilities? Can we keep them long term? Will this person jump to a different position at another company the first chance they get?

However, as an employer there is a danger to overthinking the situation. Bringing in a highly qualified candidate – even one that might be considered “overqualified” – is the purpose of a job search.

As to the perceived longer-term danger, there are plenty of reasons an overqualified person would apply for one of your positions.

Maybe they are looking to restart their career in a new field and need to build the appropriate resume. Maybe they want to stay close to family and your position offers the best opportunity in the right geographical area. Or maybe some individual aspect of the position speaks to them - a flexible schedule, a chance to work at a startup, etc.

By turning away seemingly overqualified candidates, you may be robbing the company of a great hire. Here are a few ways you can benefit from bringing someone who might be considered “overqualified”:

Easier to Train

A highly qualified candidate often doesn’t need the same hand-holding during the onboarding process. Presumably, the same abundance of training and experience that worried you in the hiring stage gives them a head start in the basics.

Add New Energy (And New Ideas)

Underqualified employees can become deferential. They are overcoming a learning curve, trying to keep up. They might not have the experience necessary to perceive every situation’s nuances and potential opportunities.

But an employee with a more extensive background doesn’t need to suffer the same handicap. They can attack even the most complicated scenarios with confidence and clarity.


It’s common enough in sports to have become a cliché: Bring in the cagey veteran to show the young up-and-comers how to play the game right. By example, and by virtue of their experience, they become the catalyst for team chemistry and the locker room glue.

Bring that dynamic into your team. By hiring a candidate that has more experience than the position calls for, you create a natural mentoring opportunity. Not only will you get the benefit of a top new employee, but your younger employees could see accelerated growth.

Leadership Potential

A mentor is an ambiguous and honorary distinction. Leadership is more concrete. Along with the vague benefits of mentorship, overqualified candidates have the potential for official leadership positions.

Because of their significant experience, your new worker might be well positioned for the fast-track to a leadership role. The main concern about overqualified candidates comes from the fact they may leave quickly for a better opportunity. By making a promotion a possibility, they can follow their ambition within your organization, lowering the risk of making the hire in the first place.

Highly qualified candidates (and even overqualified ones) provide the life blood of your business. United Personnel, a leader in the recruiting industry, can provide the type of talent you need to expand your business and make your organization thrive.

Contact us today to find out more.