Managers: Give overqualified veterinary applicants a second look

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Jan 11, 2011
By dvm360.com staff

If you’re hiring to fill an empty position on your veterinary team in this tough economy, you’re probably flooded with superstar applicants. And while you may be tempted to pass on the impressive resumes, don’t be leery of candidates with extra education or experience. A study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology dispelled the myth that overqualified job applicants are easily bored or prone to quit. Intelligent workers, the research indicates, benefit companies.

Researchers say that a manager trying to fill a job that demands less than top-level smarts should never reject a candidate offhand just because his or her job application may indicate a high level of intelligence or experience. If anything, the research suggests that such a candidate could be expected to stay longer and perform better than an applicant who may appear to be a better fit.

In positions with low cognitive demands—as defined by the federal government and including garbage collectors or car washers—employees with higher cognitive ability were less likely than others to voluntarily leave. Moreover, in predicting job departure, the most mentally demanding jobs produced job dissatisfaction at three times the rate of the simplest jobs.

Remember, high-intelligence job candidates have many reasons for seeking a more simple job. It could be for a lifestyle or health choice, an affinity for a company’s values, or the simple need of earning a paycheck. Rather than automatically rejecting an applicant who is overqualified, probe to understand the applicant’s rationale.