Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire

4 Tips for When the New Hire is More Qualified Than Their Boss

A recent study by ResumeLab found an astonishing number (61 percent) of employees believe they can handle their manager’s daily responsibilities. While another 21.7 percent go as far as to say they believe they’re more qualified than their managers. These statistics confirm a growing number of employees are overqualified for their roles. 

Our recent research revealed talent acquisition pros are challenged with a lot of overqualified talent in the market when sourcing open roles. In fact, 70.7 percent of our survey respondents agreed with the statement, “the number of overqualified talent in today’s job market complicates filling entry-level roles.”

While hiring pros agree it’s worth the effort, acquiring talent more qualified than your current managers and, more importantly, ensuring they are happy in their roles is complicated. Here’s how you can successfully recruit this highly-skilled talent and ensure their success on your team: 

Focus on understanding candidates’ past experiences

Hiring pros who responded to our survey rank past job experiences No. 1 for assessing whether a candidate has the right skills and experience level for a role. It’s important to examine candidates’ job history for clues about qualifications. While a candidate may not have the exact experience the job description calls for, they could still be overqualified even if their experience doesn’t show it. 

Dig into how their qualifications by discussing if and why they feel they are overqualified. You can also find out how they performed in previous roles, what made them happy, what made them leave, and how all of these factors compare to the possibilities of your open role. Evaluating this information will help to determine if the candidate is actually overqualified or your job description made them think they were.

Use this information to determine if a candidate is so overqualified they really won’t be happy in the role. Utilize interviews questions to verify satisfaction in those roles and determine if they have the potential to be happy in the current opening. 

Hire with future roles in mind

You don’t need a crystal ball to look into the future when it comes to the success of candidates. Instead, turn to their soft skills. In our research, about 26 percent of hiring pros said they plan to change their hiring process by hiring for soft skills and training on hard skills when hiring overqualified candidates. 

Hire overqualified talent with their career map within your company in hand. A candidate’s potential to train into more advanced roles down the road is crucial to retention when overqualification is verified. This type of talent needs to know they are not locked in a role they don’t fit.

Regardless of how much they feel they fit into the culture if they grow stagnant in their role, their engagement with even the dynamics of their team will fade. Assess their potential for higher-level roles and be sure they know you see their future advancement.

Show a clear path to their vision of the future

Recruiting talent with strong qualifications comes with many positives which can impact their future and retention rate. But you have to be prepared for them to jump right in. Our research found overqualified candidates quickly train for and learn their new position. They’re also more qualified to teach new skills to other employees — a win for the entire team. 

Use their qualifications by putting them in a position where they mentor or teach their peers or even cross-train with other teams. While they won’t be ‘managers,’ they will be managing an aspect of their career and their team’s success.

Look for opportunities to create hybrid roles

When candidates believe they’re more qualified than managers, commitment to a role can waver. This is why hiring pros say they’d only hire overqualified talent if they can ensure happiness and fulfillment in the role. One way to go about this is to create a hybrid role by combining skill sets of two different roles to develop one high-functioning position. In fact, one in eight job postings is now highly hybridized, encompassing more than 250 different occupations.

Hybridize the role of an overqualified candidate by addressing candidates’ passions, interests, and skills beyond the current job description. Look for ways to incorporate those passions into a hybrid role where they can accomplish the open role’s tasks while also feeling engaged and satisfied. Discuss the opportunity for hybrid roles with decision-makers before offering candidates the full details. 


Josh Tolan

Josh Tolan is the Founder and CEO of Spark Hire, a video interviewing platform used by 5,000+ customers in over 100 countries.