Is being over-qualified an issue when applying for a role?

One of the most frustrating reasons for candidates to receive a rejection is being over-qualified for the role. While this may seem like a counter-productive mindset, many businesses fear that the highly skilled applicant will quickly get bored with the role and become disengaged. 

However, recent reports have exposed the benefits of hiring a candidate who appears over-skilled for the role, opening up new prospects in professional recruitment in a competitive job market. 

The benefits of being highly skilled

Research from the University of Notre Dame found that highly qualified workers may turn out to be a long-term asset to companies.

Highly qualified workers may turn out to be a long-term asset to companies.

Jennifer Hu, one of the authors of the study, explained that the traditional expectations did not hold true in their research, provided they are part of a functional team. 

"When individual employees feel that they are not the only 'big fish in the pond,' and when over-qualification becomes a norm rather than exception within the group, they tend to have more favourable reactions toward their own over-qualification status and perform better," she said.

As long as over-qualification is a part of the company culture, workers are more likely to stay motivated and satisfied within their role. 

According to workplace expert Heather Huhman, there are many benefits to hiring over-qualified, as stated in a October 2014 Entrepreneur article. These include an easier on-boarding process, the ability to achieve outcomes more rapidly and a new perspective for the company.

Over-qualified employees also have the ability to act as mentors to other staff and set a good example for the team as a whole.

Supporting your skillset with leadership 

Of course, you may find yourself in the running for more senior roles if you can develop and leverage your leadership skills. Even if you do land a more junior role, the ability to take on more responsibility and guide others will put you in a good stead for a higher position in the company chain later.

Working on leadership skills may help employees gain a promotion earlier. Working on leadership skills may help employees gain a promotion earlier.

As the book Creative Leadership, written by professors from the State University of New York, explained, effective modern managers are those who can improve group performance by reducing friction, think creatively and create a compelling vision that engages everyone towards a collective goal. 

No matter what role you are looking for, preparing to sell your skillset will be a vital task in gaining a dream job in 2016.