Is “over qualified” the new term for the over fifties and a cover up for age discrimination? Feedback from candidates would suggest they feel that is the case and they struggle to be able to overcome this.
With an ageing population in the UK, gaps in the job market are appearing. In the year 2007 the number of people in the UK aged over 65 outnumbered the number of people under 16 for the first time. This is growing evidence that employers will have to accept the fact that people are living longer, can be healthier, have the skills and experience to carry out most jobs and want to work longer.
As a hiring manager there are many positive reasons to recruit an over fifty year old as there are of any age, the trick being to look for, and find them.
An overqualified and over experienced candidate can intimidate hiring managers and recruiters but are the reasons valid, and if so, do the benefits outweigh the negatives? Many job seekers over 50 may genuinely want less responsibility and non-management roles.
The reasons we have heard to overlook them includes:
- Do they still have the desire and enthusiasm to succeed in the role?
- Are their salary expectations higher than those for the vacant position?
- Is this just a stop gap while they wait for the job they really want to come along?
- Are they fit and healthy enough to carry out a demanding role?
- Are they just looking for something to pass the time until they retire?
Your interview process and questions need to identify if any of the above are the case rather than just assuming as there are many benefits to candidates that you may consider to be overqualified; for example:
- Fully trained and easily managed
- Leadership qualities
- Support for holidays and sickness
- Additional areas of expertise
- Takes new challenges on board and delivers
- Target driven
The manager that the candidate would report to must be involved in the recruitment process as soon as possible to build rapport and not feel threatened whilst also discussing what the candidate feels they could bring to the team and the company.
Identify the advantages and disadvantages asking yourself; do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages? Think about what they could actually achieve.
A mistake or error of judgement in the past does not mean every candidate is the same.