As you put together the job description for your next hire, you will obviously have certain background and experience preferences and requirements that a candidate will have to meet before consideration. You’ll often receive resumes that don’t begin to meet the criteria – but how do you handle a candidate whose background goes way beyond what you’re looking for? Those overqualified candidates can bring even more to the table than you’d hoped for – just make sure you ask them the right questions to see if they’re the right fit for you.

When looking at an overqualified candidate, keep these points in mind:

  • Focus on the benefits. Bringing in an overqualified candidate means that, while you’ll still need to go through the process of onboarding that you would for any new employee, some of the steps may be streamlined or even skipped, including in-depth training for the position. The overqualified candidate will likely have a smoother transition and the ability to become a contributing team member sooner. Ask questions about how he believes he can use his background to positively affect the company and his co-workers.
  • Assess his motivations. This includes why he wants the position and what motivates him to do his best. You don’t want to be used as a placeholder for someone while he looks for a job more suited to his skills and expertise – it will mean a disruption in the team and more expense to onboard someone new if he stays for just a short time. And you want to figure out if he really will put his background to work effectively. Ask questions about why he’s choosing to leave his current job/how he can use his skills effectively. You also want to ask questions about how he’s dealt with problems in the past or a time when he succeeded and what he did to make it happen.
  • Address the obvious. It’s likely that both of you will recognize a candidate is more than qualified for a position. Depending on your preference you may want to take the subtle approach or simply cut right to the chase. If you want to go the softer route, start by figuring out his priorities: Question him about a personal decision he made and later regretted – what was the situation and how did he resolve the issue? Then move into more direct questions, asking what appeals to him about this position compared to his current job. The answers will help you figure out whether this person is a good fit for your company or not.

Employers dismiss overqualified candidates almost as regularly as underqualified ones. Don’t put yourself in that same situation – always consider the overqualified candidates as you would any other – just ask the right questions to see if they’re right for your company. For help with any candidates, reach out to the staffing experts at PrideStaff Thousand Oaks.

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