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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Overqualified for the Role? Great!

I was dismayed to read a recent article that advised recruiters and hiring managers to pass over the over-qualified worker. Seriously? The market is a gold mine for talent right now. As the economy stabilizes, many workers are making the move to find new jobs or change careers. And we still have a lot of high caliber talent among the ranks of the unemployed who are looking for new positions.

A new job's value isn't always defined as a promotion or progress up the proverbial career ladder. Many people are looking to make a change to be part of a different culture that is more aligned with their own values. Or perhaps explore opportunities to learn and grow. Or even find a role that provides the chance to do what they do best but with a more manageable and flexible schedule.

No one expects workers to stay with one employer for their entire career. In fact, we’re finding that often highly-qualified job seekers are taking what we term “bridging” roles - jobs that will fill a gap and get them to the next chapter in their careers. They take them for various reasons. Some take them to bridge their move into retirement. Some are open to contributing in new ways. Some do it so they can keep their skills fresh and relevant or learn new ones.

In short, there is a lot of talent available today. The New York Times reports that the number for people in positions where their experience or education exceeds their job descriptions is roughly one in five American workers. This frequency inevitably increases in hard times. Academic research on the subject confirms that workers who perceive themselves as overqualified do, in fact, report lower job satisfaction and higher rates of turnover. But the studies also indicate that those workers tend to perform better. Moreover, there is evidence that many of the negatives that come with overqualified hires can be mitigated if they are given autonomy and made to feel valued and respected.

Perhaps you’ve been questioning hiring someone who may be perceived as overqualified. Go ahead. Tap the great talent available today. It’s to your advantage.

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