Why Hire an Overqualified Temp?

by Guest blogger
Hiring Talent, Leading People, Top Talent - 5 years ago

If you are a Manager or work in Human Resources, you may have heard of the myth which deems it vital to hire persons who are not over-qualified for a position. Otherwise, states this myth, your organization could suffer from negative effects, including boredom, lack of motivation or a high turnover, with staff leaving frequently for better paid/more promising positions in other companies.

Studies have shown, however, that many of these so-called limitations are inexistent; two important studies have shown that overqualified staff perform better than those who have average qualifications. The case is even stronger when it comes to temporary workers, since they aren’t necessarily looking for a long-term future with your company. These are just a few ways in which you can turn the old adage inside out, and make the most of hiring a highly qualified temporary worker:

Overqualified workers have skills your company can use

All companies have little gaps which need filling; your company may have an outdated website, a poor filing system or disorganized procedures that could do with a little updating. When you hire a temporary workers that may have a particular strength in a field your company needs help with, you can make the most of their skills, by asking them for ideas or using downtime in their working day to make the necessary changes you need. In this sense it is always better to hire someone who is overqualified than someone who is inexperienced; any extra help you can get from a temporary worker is a bonus you company should welcome. Even if their stay is short, they can make a big impact on how your company runs; don’t shy away from this opportunity.

You may have found a vital piece of the puzzle

When a temporary workers is highly skilled in an area that is vital for your company, you may realize that they are the missing piece in the puzzle. There are few better ways of finding a dream match for a vacant position, than by testing them out first in a job that is not quite so demanding or pivotal. That way, you can keep an eye out for their motivation levels, willingness to go the extra mile, ability to set and achieve goals and interest in working as part of a team. Temporary workers are in actual fact a gold mine for potential permanent recruitment. The temporary worker may have applied for a temporary position at your company with the ultimate aim of landing a permanent job there; why not give them a chance to prove themselves? Many top managers have worked their way up to the top in a company, staring out in positions that may not have been their dream job, but which enabled them to show their dedication, commitment and vision.

Overqualified workers can train other members of the team

An overqualified temporary worker can train others in vital skills, whether it be designing a webpage, conducting marketing analyses or improving a computer program.

Overqualified temporary workers may be more efficient

You may be eyeing a temp who has worked in a top company or held an important management position. This type of worker is used to high productivity, strict deadlines and top level organization. This means that you will probably need less time training them to perform the job and you certainly won’t need to instruct them in vital skills such as time management; in fact, they may teach you a lesson or two which, as an enlightened manager, you should always be welcome to learn.

The person is interested in the job

Commonsense dictates that ultimately, the person who should decide whether or not a worker is overqualified for a job or not, is the worker herself. It seems odd that a highly skilled individual should be rejected for a temporary job which, at least for that set period, they are keen to fulfil to the best of their abilities. There are many reasons why a talented worker may be interested in a short-term job: they may be travelling to your country for a limited period of time, they may be interested in expanding their skills or they may simply wish to work for a set period in your industry. Refusing to hire someone because they are overqualified is, in a way, undervaluing your own organization; why not always opt for the very best for your company?

Whilst many employers might not think that hiring an overqualified temp would benefit them, it’s clear that they can very often bring more to the table than those who only have fair to middling qualifications or little experience. It’s something to think about when looking to hire staff on a temporary basis – especially in cases where there may be an opportunity for more permanent employment.

Gemma Leader is a freelance writer who worked for many years in finance and business. She decided to leave the stresses and strains of big city life behind and opt for a more creative way of living after she married and started her family. Now she writes on the topics she knows most about.