Over-qualification is the condition of employees who believe that their qualifications exceed the requirements of their jobs. The phenomenon has been widely considered harmful for organizations, which is why most companies tend to screen out such job applicants. However, a new study has revealed over-qualification may actually be beneficial for the employers.
But, Jasmine Hu and Kaifeng Jiang from the University of Notre Dame spent six months conducting interviews and studies of 11 information technology companies in China.
‘Over-qualification has been widely considered harmful for organizations. But, a new study has suggested that the phenomena may actually be beneficial for the employers.’
They discovered that when individual employees feel that they are not the only 'big fish in the pond', and when over-qualification becomes a norm rather than exception within the group, they tend to have more favorable reactions toward their own over-qualification status and perform better.
Hu said, "Managers may benefit from understanding that as over-qualification becomes normalized in the workplace, it exerts a more positive influence over such behaviors as job performance and citizenship. Furthermore, organizations should celebrate employees' qualifications when they are first brought on board and point out how these over-qualified employees are in good company by highlighting that they will be working with a highly qualified group."
Managers could also highlight the interpersonal compatibility within a group to promote the positive influence of over-qualification on employee attitudes and behaviors, according to Hu.
The study was published in the Journal of Applied Psychology.