Don't Overlook Overqualified Candidates for Contract Assignments

Like they often do with unemployed candidates, employers tend to automatically eliminate any candidates deemed to be overqualified. Employers assume that overqualified candidates will not be satisfied and, as a result, will not stick around long.  

But according to a recent Business News Daily article , employers who blindly dismiss all overqualified job candidates could be putting themselves at a competitive disadvantage. A recent study discussed in the article found that if these candidates are given challenging assignments, they can have a positive impact on a company. 

According to the article, overqualified candidates can thrive in complex positions where they:

  • Can freely make decisions
  • Coordinate or lead others
  • Be responsible for the outcomes of their work actions

Hmm, those sound like common attributes of contract assignments. Contractors are often brought in to take on challenging projects where they are expected to have the knowledge and skills to get the job done without a ton of oversight.  They usually decide the best way to get the job done and are responsible for the successful final outcome of a project. Sometimes they are even project team leaders.

Better yet, for overqualified candidates who crave constant challenge, contracting is the perfect solution because contract assignments are only for a specific period of time.  When the project is done, they can move on to a new assignment where they can once again put themselves to the test.  

If you have candidates you are having trouble placing due to the perception that they are overqualified, you may want to consider offering them as contractors.  What may be considered a weakness in a direct-hire could be a great asset in a contractor.

Debbie Fledderjohann is the President of Top Echelon Contracting, Inc.

Views: 151

Comment by StaffingStarr on November 16, 2011 at 6:48pm

Great points, Debbie!  I work with candidates that are typically overqualified for the temporary positions I fill.  If I have to present a resume to my client, I will scale the experience/title back a bit, but highlight the candidate's qualifications for the job.  I also coach them how to interview for positions that are below their qualifications.  I currently have a Customer Service Supervisor working on a project as an Account  Analyst.  What started as a data entry, and spreadsheet audit position will become a permanent offer to my Associate in January. 


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