Tech & Work

Hiring managers should be careful not to dismiss the "overqualified"

A study from the University of South Carolina says that hiring overqualified workers does not necessarily result in high turnover.

I think one of the most aggravating things some job hunters hear is that they're overqualified for the job they're applying for, as if they don't know their own minds. If you've even been in that boat, now you have some scientific evidence to prove that statement wrong. According to a recent study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, the belief that many have that overqualified workers are easily bored and prone to quit is a myth. (I didn't link to the study because the scholarly paper requires a purchase.)

Dr Anthony Nyberg from the University of South Carolina, who led the research, concluded, "A manager trying to fill a job that demands less-than-top-level smarts should never reject a candidate out of hand just because the applicant's score on the company's intelligence tests labels him or her as smarter than the job requires."

The findings are based on an analysis of more than 5,000 adults' labor-force behavior over a 25-year period in a nationwide U.S. sample.

Nyberg says that hiring managers should try to understand a job applicant's rationale behind wanting a job for which they're "overqualified" because the reasons are many. It might be a lifestyle or health choice, an affinity for a company's values or just the need for a paycheck.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

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