Why You Should Consider an Under-Qualified Candidate

The process of poring over resume after resume of potential candidates is arguably the easiest part of the recruitment process. By demarcating a specific set of qualifying factors, such as education or years of experience, many employers have a quick and simple way to distinguish the good candidates from the bad candidates. The drawback? The best candidates might not possess the desired qualifications of the company, resulting in missed opportunities. But what does under-qualified mean?

For every company, there are likely a million different reasons a candidate might be considered “under-qualified,” but let’s face it: the measure of an individual’s potential for success can’t be narrowed down to a few lines of type on a piece of paper. (Because let’s face it, an under-qualified candidate likely isn’t going to have a two-page resume.) As a result, many potentially great, long-term candidates are tossed in the recycling bin, left to continue their quest searching for the perfect job.

So why hire the under-qualified candidate?

They Want to Prove Themselves

The under-qualified candidate has something to prove. Should they make it to the interview stage of the recruitment process, it’s likely they will wow you with their enthusiasm and, once hired, will immediately jump into their new role with an eagerness to learn as much as they can.

Financial Benefits

“Salary dependent upon experience.” We’ve all seen that, but it could really mean anything. What may be a low salary to a qualified or over-qualified candidate can often be interpreted as striking gold for the under-qualified employee. While companies want to hire a great candidate, they also want to make sure they get the most return on their investment. Hiring an under-qualified candidate means you can pay them less than you would one with many years of experience.

No Negotiation

Qualified employees leaving one job for another will likely not accept an offer without negotiating some of the fine print. This can mean anything from more vacation days, a higher salary, or other benefits. Under-qualified candidates don’t get this sort of wiggle room, and ultimately wind up taking whatever they’re offered right out of the gate. It is, in effect, a win-win situation. The employer can offer the bare minimum to bring on someone who is willing to take the bare minimum in exchange for the opportunity to increase their skillset and work with a great company.

And perhaps the best thing about hiring an under-qualified candidate is…


That’s right, loyalty. With Generation X on their way out and Millennials slowly taking over the workforce, the hiring landscape has changed dramatically. Gone are the days of “one job for life,” replaced by young go-getters willing to jump ship and go to work for a company that pays the most, offers the best benefits, and has the best company culture. It’s not uncommon to see some professionals with multiple jobs over a ten-year time period, and while there could be many reasons for this, happy employees typically don’t tend to leave their current positions.

That’s where under-qualified candidates shine. Since they’re likely new to the type of position for which they’re applying or were dismissed from their last after a short time through no fault of their own, they’re determined to prove themselves as dedicated and hard-working. This translates to better productivity,


In the end, there is no one thing that divides under-qualified candidates and qualified candidates. People are diverse and possess varied backgrounds and skillsets, so while what’s on paper is important, there are other things to consider that could mean the difference between a troublesome new hire and your next CEO.

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