Are they really TOO overqualified? Part II: How to handle the talent

24 09 2011

It is very important that the job is designed to fit well with the employee. We are faced with a challenging task when we hire someone who has much more experience and knowledge than what the job actually requires. As the Human Resource department, we need to design the job to challenge the employee. This could mean giving the employee more responsibilities or projects. We need to know the employee and their talents. Finding a perfect “person-job fit” is the only way to benefit from the employees.

When hiring overqualified employees, the company must implement the right training and development and if the company is going to hire an “overqualified” applicant, it is important to keep a couple things in mind:

Hire with an eye on the future

Don’t just hire any employee without looking to the future. This can be looked at as a gift that every corporation has been granted. If we place some of these “overqualified” employees in some of the less challenging positions, but we are able to shape the job and give them more responsibility, they will have a sense of satisfaction and deliver results. It is important to allocate the employee to areas where they can be useful in building the company. Look for the future of which role that employee might fit into in the long-term perspective. Use this time to cultivate them and educate them on the lower level.

Find ways to keep them engaged

Use them as a resource. They will want to be challenged. A great way to make sure they stay motivated, satisfied and still performing, is to shape the job to fit them. They should be able to fulfill the normal job requirements, but additionally, their special skills and experience can be used to shape their position more around them. An employee is going to produce results if they 1) see their contributions leading to company results and 2) they are given a good level of autonomy or responsibility.

Accept that they’re going to leave

It is okay that they are going to leave. Accept it. But in the meantime, use their talent for all it’s worth. If you can find a temporary role for them, it may be well worth it if they raise the level among the coworkers. The abundance of talent in the role will have an effect on the environment around where they work.

Hiring an employee who appears to be “overqualified” for the position is a tough decision. It is not a good business decision for the static company, but more a decision for the companies who are looking into the future. By hiring these employees at a time when the job market is grim, the employees will feel a relationship and trust with the company. It can be a risk and seem expensive at the beginning, but the knowledge and benefit gained from these employees can be extremely beneficial and can lead to the difference between companies which continue to suffer and companies which use new ideas to prosper in tough economic times.

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