Over Qualified?

As a frequent interviewer, I’ve often heard comments along the lines… “He’s overqualified.”  This typically is followed with requesting this person be removed from the candidate pool or approached with hesitation.

When I inquire about these concerns, the answers tend to range from “he won’t be happy in this role”, “this is only a temp role for him and it will be a waste of onboarding cost”, or simply “he won’t be interested”.

Occasionally, I can fall victim to this line of thinking especially when considering salary expectations or when I’m extending a role specifically looking for a newbie type person.

Now having been recently on the other side – as the interviewee, I want to go back and kick myself.  I applied for a role that yup, I was overqualified for.  This means I met all the requirements and all of the desired skills and then some.   The response was a short email indicating that I was overqualified and am not be considered further.

Now this highlights other aspects for me that maybe this company wasn’t what I was looking for because even the few times I did feel like I encountered someone overqualified or not a match for this specific posting but a quality candidate, I made a personal connection to indicate this and continued to look for opportunities that would fit.  So I find the electronic dismissal to raise questions on my fit anyway.  However, this isn’t the point of this post.

Here’s the thing, I was very interested in this company.  I loved what they were creating.  I loved the described culture (might not have been so true after all).  And yes, I loved the location of the company.  This was the role that was open and this was the role that I could add value.   Was I overqualified, yes.  Would I have done a great job, yes.  Would I have contributed even more to the company than they hoped for this role, my history says yes.  Would I have stayed in that position for years?  I have no idea…even when I go in for a specific position, I am often pulled into new ones anyway.

Are these really bad answers?  Don’t you want to find a great candidate that can do even more for your company/teams?

Why not let the person decide?  Why not at least have the discussion before ruling out the possibility of a fit?  Now, one could argue that this was their way of letting me down easy.  Maybe, but I’ve been part of these types of discussions and I know that this line of thinking does happen.

So my vow is the next time I’m looking at resumes, the thought “overqualified” is going to look like a bonus not a red flag in any situation.

What’s your stance?

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