Overqualified Employee! What does this mean?
It is a condition when the qualification of an employee exceeds the job requirements. Such people have a more extensive and impressive career profile and experience than expected by the hiring manager.
While it may seem, employers benefit immensely if they hire overqualified workers, there are drawbacks as well as advantages to hiring overqualified workers.
Advantages Of Having Overqualified Employees
More efficient output
- Overqualified employees will certainly perform their tasks more effectively than other workers. This is beneficial for an organization because its output will be of superior quality.
- Overqualified employees will also be an asset because they will earn higher revenues for the organization than other workers
- Even while delivering efficacy and more revenue, they take home a salary that is equal to that of ordinary employees.
- Startups especially benefit from having overqualified employees because work in startups is so fluid and challenging that the most qualified manpower possible is necessary.
Motivate fellow employees
- Another advantage of having overqualified employees is such employees can help and motivate their peers. For instance, by working alongside high achievers, other workers may feel motivated to work harder and will also be able to turn to the high achieving employees when they need help.
- In startups especially overqualified employees are valuable because their motivation and efficient work ethic rub off on fellow employees.
- Overqualified employees are also more likely to be self-motivated and require far less supervision than other employees.
- Such attributes of overqualified employees do not require hiring additional managers to oversee their work.
Mature and stable
- An organization needn’t assume that overqualified employees will quickly leave an organization.
- Even when the economy is booming, employees may choose to work in roles for which they are overqualified because such roles are less stressful, close to home, or because they offer flexible working hours.
- Managers can rely on overqualified employees to step up when needed to. For instance, when facing especially challenging situations, many managers find assigning responsibility to overqualified employees produces outstanding outcomes.
However, just like two sides of the same coin, overqualified employees also bring advantages as well as disadvantages to the organization. Know-how:
Disadvantages Of Hiring Overqualified Employees
Higher Turnover risk
- Employees who are overqualified may be spotted by their quantum and quality of work. Such employees are likely to work harder and more productively than ordinary workers.
- They add value to the company but when objective feedback about such workers is given, they will expect compensation and bonuses that justify their efforts.
- Hence such workers will expect to be paid more because they believe their work justifies a higher salary and bonus.
- In a startup, overqualified employees may prove difficult to manage because they feel they are better educated or more qualified than their managers.
- Companies that have overqualified employees may have to pay them a salary commensurate with their work otherwise such employees may be tempted to leave.
Higher expectations from a standard job
- Such employees will expect to be quickly considered for more senior positions or expect to be paid a higher salary within a few months of joining.
- Unlike other workers who feel they have to earn a higher position; overqualified employees may feel entitled to them.
- Managing the aspirations of such employees and balancing them with the aspirations of other employees may prove challenging to employers.
- If their expectations are left unfulfilled for long, it may prompt them to leave their organization.
- If a startup hires a large number of overqualified employees, ego clashes may occur and result in a mass exodus of overqualified employees from the startup.
Likely to get bored
- Employees who are well suited to a job are likely to enjoy their time doing their jobs, overqualified employees, unless challenged, may become bored and therefore unhappy.
- Such boredom may manifest in poor job performance despite such employees having the skills to excel.
- Disinterest in a job may make them leave the organization quickly.
Create a negative impact on employees well suitable for the job
- Employees working alongside overqualified employees may feel threatened when they realize the new employees have many skills they lack.
- It may prompt them to become unmotivated if suspicions arise that the next promotion will be given to an overqualified employee.
- Other employees may feel a sense of discrimination and be treated unfairly.
What The Madras High Court Says
The Madras High Court recently made a judgment to reject the applications of overqualified people for government jobs. The judge directed the state government to clearly describe minimum and maximum eligibility for a job vacancy to restrict applications of over-qualified candidates.
He was of the view that appointment of overqualified candidates should be construed as a violation of Article 14 and 16 of the Indian constitutions which talks about ‘Right to Equality’ and ‘Equality in matters of public employment’ respectively. The verdict observed that unequal cannot be treated equally and maintaining equality amongst equals is the constitutional mandate.”
The Madras High Court’s judgement in the context of government jobs is sound because a job that can be done by a 10th class pass out should never be assigned to an engineer or an MBA.
While the Madras High Court’s judgement is sound in the context of government jobs, in the context of private jobs it is less so. Because jobs in some companies, especially startups are less clearly defined, it’s harder to set concrete guidelines stating who is qualified for a job.
Because job requirements in the private sector change frequently it makes it hard to create guidelines stating who is qualified for a job. Several startups hire overqualified employees because it leads to higher productivity.
Advice When Hiring An Overqualified Employee
There could be several reasons why an employee is working in a role for which he or she is overqualified. It’s best to ascertain their motive for working in a particular role before hiring them. Doing so allows organizations to ascertain whether the employee will be a good fit and won’t lower productivity or make colleagues feel insecure.
Startups should pay special care in understanding why an overqualified candidate wants to work there. When such an employee is sincere he or she can be a tremendous boon, while when insincere, he or she may disrupt the startup.
It’s important for employers to remember that money isn’t everything to everyone. An employee who is overqualified for a role may choose to work in the role for several reasons. For instance, they may want to do a job that is less stressful or because they’re less motivated by money or status.
By ascertaining why those who are overqualified for a job want to do the job, an organization can make sagacious hiring decisions that lead to a productive working environment.