A Recruiter's Notebook: Overqualified? Take a closer look.

At the top of her resume, she clearly states, “over 30 years of experience.” This is confirmed by her graduation from college in 1979. My client has asked for someone with 10+ years of experience in this key management role. Is she “overqualified”? Would this be a step back for her? Does she still have the “fire in the belly?”  Is she too expensive? Fair questions, but don’t stop there.

In today’s market for talent, some of the best candidates have a similar profile: later in their career, long tenure at a few companies, perhaps a victim of a change in ownership or a flattening of the organization chart as part of a restructuring. With many professionals choosing (or needing) to work well past the traditional retirement age, there is a real opportunity to tap into this talent pool.

Here are some of the benefits to consider:

  • Bringing diversity of experience and opinion to your team
  • Having someone to mentor a next-generation leader
  • Gaining a wealth of industry and competitive knowledge
  • Bringing stability to a role that may have experienced turnover
  • Hiring someone who can hit the ground running and be a resource for others

Of course, you’ll need to assess culture fit, technical skills, and compensation requirements, but don’t let the dates on the resume derail you. A quick candidate tip: Don’t hide from your graduation dates or early career experience. The breadth of your experience should resonate with a company fortunate enough to hire you.  

Barry Elkus,

Partner, Gilman Partners


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