Overqualified Does Not Equal Job Hopper

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With unemployment closing in on 10% the job market is flooded with great candidates. This presents an excellent opportunity for companies to grab some really great talent. Unfortunately I have seen many candidates rejected because they are overqualified. While I am sure there are some instances in which this is just a convenient brush off, many managers really worry about hiring someone who has too much experience or education.

Replacing employees is costly. Studies indicate it costs between 20%-60% of an employee’s annual salary to replace them. That said, candidates are not necessarily interested in hopping around. When deciding whether or not to hire a more experienced candidate look at two areas to determine whether they are a job hopper or a loyal employee.

First look at their resume, if you see they have worked for 5 different companies in 7 years you may want to give them a pass, especially if the position you are offering is a “step-down” from their last position. If, however, you find the candidate has been with the same company for many years this indicates they are loyal. Ask them about their longest running employer, if they worked their way through the ranks and what they liked about the job. If you can provide a similar experience the candidate may be a great fit for your company.

You should also give candidates a comprehensive behavioral assessment to look for traits that indicate the candidate will be a loyal employee. Several behavioral factors contribute to loyalty. Candidates who are fairly sociable, somewhat quiet, and fairly cooperative are likely to make relationships with coworkers that bind them to your company. Candidates who are cautious, accommodating, conscientious, and disciplined are likely to feel a sense of duty associated with their job that will drive them to perform well and discourage them from seeking other employment.

Realize that just because a candidate is loyal it doesn’t mean they are effective. Some employees are loyal simply because they haven’t had any other opportunities. This is why reference checking is so important. A few quick phone calls will let you know whether the candidate was a valuable employee who was the victim of downsizing or a sub-par employee who was the victim of their own lack of performance.

Take advantage of the current job market to hire some great new talent. Don’t shy away from the “overqualified” candidates. Do your homework and hire the best of the best. You won’t regret it.

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