Your interviewee seems to have it all. She’s smart, friendly, and composed, and as the conversation moves forward, her real story adds dimension and veracity to the impressive accomplishments listed in her resume. She’s fantastic. But…maybe a little TOO fantastic.

On the surface, overqualified candidates seem like a steal. They offer all the traits you’re looking for, but with an additional twist of excellence that appears out of nowhere like a lucky windfall. But nothing comes for free in this life, and as experienced hiring managers know, overqualified candidates also tend to come with one serious potential downfall: They don’t stick around. Most people won’t hold an unsatisfying or uninspiring job for very long, especially if the job doesn’t pay as much as they’re used to. So before you get caught up in the spell and hire an overqualified rock star, make sure her interest in this job is genuine. Here’s how.

Just Be Direct

Be honest with the candidate about your concerns. Use a statement like, “I think you may be a little overqualified for this role. I’m concerned that you may not be happy here. What is it about this job or company that attracts you?” As the candidate answers, listen carefully. Specifics are a good sign. (For example, “For personal reasons, I need to remain in this small town for at least the next five years”, or “I chose to apply here because this company offers a very specific type of exposure to cutting edge XZY software, and I can’t find this experience anywhere else.”) Vague, generic responses (like “Well, I strive to commit myself to everything I do”) may be a red flag.

Be Clear about the Pitfalls of the Job

Identify and explain the most boring, demeaning, or unpleasant aspects of this role. Use direct language. Pay attention to the candidate’s response. If he cringes in horror, or pauses for a moment before plastering on a fake smile, that’s a sign of trouble. On the other hand, if she expresses genuine disregard—or even enthusiasm—in the face of these challenges, that’s a plus. For example, “Sometimes in this role, you’ll be asked to complete tasks like mopping the floor or cleaning out the grease traps. Will you be okay with this?”

Ask the Candidate Where she Expects to Be Three Years from Now

This is the best way to see if your plans and the candidate’s plans align. Ask her how she believes this job will support her career growth, and what she expects to find satisfying or fulfilling about this work. Again, listen carefully and read between the lines as she answers.

For more on how to find a candidate who perfectly matches your open position, reach out to the staffing team at Expert.

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