Between my role as workplace contributor on Good Morning America for the last six years and running Women For Hire, which produces live and virtual career expos, I hear from thousands of women every month who are seeking new employment. While plenty of them are somewhat clueless about today’s job search process, the vast majority are savvy professionals who are eager to find the perfect fit within a great organization.
For those over 40 (which makes me cringe since I’m ‘only’ 41), the biggest disappointment is routinely being dismissed as overqualified. I know, I know, if you hire people with credentials and compensation history that far exceed what the proposed position pays, they’ll flee when something better comes along. Or, worse, they’ll resent reporting to managers who are far less experienced and taking home bigger checks.
But what about the flip side? A shorter on-ramp, diversity of perspective, built in reverse mentoring, patience and attention span (imagine that!), and other perks that are only possible with experience.
I’ve watched my peers in small business benefit tremendously by hiring overqualified individuals. These employees are highly engaged with both feet firmly planted in the company—no eye toward the door. The employers are getting more than just time and talent for their money; they’ve won extreme loyalty from those they’ve embraced with job offers—the same people who were summarily dismissed by corporate America. That translates to improved retention, positive brand buzz and the satisfaction of offering a hand up to a group of deserving applicants.