But there are times when hiring a job candidate who seemingly is overqualified does makes sense. The key is to think beyond immediate needs and consider the potential wins of upgrading the overall smarts of your organization.
In an HBR.org post on this subject, Amy Gallo says to "ask yourself if there is room to expand the role and make use of the skills he brings." In other words, if you are in a position to hire a talented performer, don't tie yourself to the current need. There are not enough talented people to go around, so snap one up when the opportunity presents itself and tailor the job to fit the person's skills.
Gallo offers up three advantages to hiring an overqualified candidate:
- New business. These employees can help the company develop opportunities that couldn't be addressed without them. For example, hiring a senior marketing person for a junior position opens the possibility that her extensive contact list could generate new leads — and a quick expansion of her role.
- Mentoring. An experienced hand could not only mentor junior staff, but also push the veterans to achieve higher levels of performance.
- New skills. If you did hire Welch, your business would suddenly get a lot smarter about thinking about innovation. Consider the benefits of bringing in someone whose area of expertise is not represented at the company.
Of course, hiring an overqualified candidate has risks attached — read Gallo's column for ways to think about how to shape a job to fit the new hire's abilities.
I'd love to hear your thoughts about hiring someone who clearly had too much experience. How did you make it work?
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