Many job seekers over 40 share the same experience of applying for a job and not getting it with the reasoning being that they’re “overqualified”.
What does overqualified actually mean?
Overqualified is just another word for age discrimination. It’s another way to say, “You’re to old to work for me”, or, “You have a lot of experience and we don’t want to pay you your actual worth”.
The problem with age discrimination and using “overqualified” as an excuse to deny a candidate of the job or not even consider them, is that hiring managers are missing out on great talent in a tight labor market — That and much, much more.
Busting Misconceptions of Hiring Overqualified Workers
The person applying is too good for the job therefore they won’t actually want it.
If they applied they have a reason for wanting the job. Maybe the role they are currently in is to stressful and they want to take a step back. Maybe they are unhappy in their current role and need something a different that they will enjoy more.
Before taking them out of the game, give them a fair shot and actually ask them their reasoning for wanting the job. It just might surprise you.
The person has more experience than required so they will want more money than we can offer.
Unless you ask for their previous salary, you have no idea how much they were making before. Maybe they were underpaid and overworked and are looking for something with a better balance. Maybe they will take less money to be in a better workplace or a job that makes them happier. Maybe you have better benefits then their last job. You won’t know their salary expectations unless you ask.
They won’t listen to or respect younger or less qualified management.
In this day and age, it’s more then likely that they’ve worked for younger management before and that that’s not an issue for them.
They will be resistant to learning new things.
You would be surprised with this. Most people are eager to learn new things if given the chance and can catch on quickly at any age. But, they have to be given the chance.
They won’t stay with us long-term. They will move on when a better opportunity presents its self or they will retire soon.
Having an employee stay and grow within a company for 10 years or more is the dream. However, the reality is that the average tenure rate in the U.S is only 4.2 years and has been that way since 2016. So, why not hire someone that will give you a good 4.2 years of work like the rest of your employees before jumping ship?
Thinking that a candidate won’t stay with the company long because they will retire soon is also poor thinking. The reality is is that many Americans don’t have enough money saved up to retire and still need to work an extra 5 to 10 years.
Think Twice Before Labeling Someone “Overqualified”
Before deciding if someone is overqualified for the job, ask yourself if your making any biased assumptions based off their age or experience.
Consider what advantages they could bring to the position. Will it cost less to train them? Will they add diversity to the organization? Will they achieve a faster return to productivity? Will they be on a fast track to future responsibilities?
People all have their own reasons for doing things. Find out why they want the job and where they see themselves in five years. Then decide how their experience can contribute to the organization or if they just aren’t the right fit.