How to interview a candidate more experienced than you?

4 mins

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You’re a hiring manager. You come across the resume of a potential candidate you have to interview for a specialized job. The catch is, that the candidate is highly experienced. You’ve never been nervous or apprehensive about an interview before. But a sense of doubt sets in. How do you proceed?

Does more experienced mean overqualified?

Sometimes in your career, you come across people who have much more expertise and knowledge about certain things. In an interview setting, there may be several instances wherein the candidate you are interviewing has more technical expertise and candidate experience. In these situations, it is imperative to understand a few things.

Work does not have to be adversarial. As a matter of fact, it moves swiftly if you can move towards the goal and establish cohesiveness to get the job done. This is common in a plethora of fields such as cybersecurity, finance, and healthcare. The interviewer may not be an expert, but is it necessary to be well-versed in what the project needs to ensure that the candidate can deliver. 

As a hiring manager, there are roles in your team outside the spectrum of your competency. It is critical for the candidate to not lecture, as it can be perceived as patronizing or arrogant.

It is important to note two things:
  • First, the interviewer is far more experienced in the goals of the company. Their main purpose is to find a candidate who will be a good fit for the job role to help the company advance.
  • Second, the interviewer is trying to find people with good candidate experience, irrespective of the interviewer’s expertise. For example, if you are interviewing a candidate and it becomes clear during the interview that the candidate knows more about the market for the technology than you, you should not let the competition get in the way. Rather, hear the candidate and understand whether his expertise makes him a good fit or not. This is also a good way to successfully interview candidates for leadership roles.

How to approach interviewing a more experienced candidate

This can be done in a plethora of ways:

Research Well

 Before interviewing an experienced candidate, ensure that you conduct very thorough research beforehand to gather all the necessary information. Read their CV and also make sure to check their Linkedin profile to understand their background. Doing this will ensure that you do not waste time talking about the candidate’s background and you can talk about the position and goals needed to be achieved. This can be achieved by doing good, thorough research prior to the interview scheduled.

Outsource to a Recruiter with Expertise

There are several positions that require a certain amount of expertise and skill in order to conduct a fruitful interview. There are several industries, such as finance, healthcare, cybersecurity, etc wherein hiring managers cannot be generalized recruiters as it would affect the decision of hiring the correct candidate. Thus, it would be beneficial to seek the help of a recruitment process outsourcing company to facilitate the hiring process. This it would lead to help from industry experts. Moreover, your company would benefit from hiring a good candidate without error.

Find Out About the Candidate’s Personality and Make it Personal

No matter the age or experience of your candidate, whether they are old, young, or a freshly graduated student, it is imperative to allow your candidate to show their personality. In order to do so, ensure that your candidate takes the lead and does most of the talking as this would help you to assess the candidate’s true persona. Ask them about their hobbies, interests, their reactions to certain real-life scenarios as well as their opinions. This will help you gauge whether the candidate is a good fit for your team beyond the basic knowledge and experience required.

Share Your Experiences

The one thing of certainty is the fact that your candidate is an experienced professional. They have enough expertise, they’ve most definitely done research or have some idea about your company. Expand on that. Share your own personal experiences, why you love working at the company, what your opinions are etc. This will help your candidate gain a deeper understanding of your company and its culture.

As a hiring manager, unprecedented situations may arise which may require quick, on-your-feet thinking. What is important is to calmly analyze, do enough research and talk to your team sufficiently. In the event that you come across a candidate who is highly experienced, much more than you, it is necessary to tailor your questions and the interview process to assess their application in an improvised manner.

BarRaiser is committed to ensuring that interview processes go smoothly and our readers understand the necessary steps that need to be taken to facilitate a successful hiring process.

People Also Asked

What questions to ask overqualified candidates?

Before we answer this, repeating that more experienced doesn’t meet overqualified. However, if you do encounter an overqualified candidate, it’s important to ask why they would like to join s job they are overqualified for, how will they continue to be motivated in the job, and what makes them the right candidate for the job.

How to provide feedback to overqualified candidates?

Often, telling someone that they are overqualified is a way of rejecting the candidates and can be considered age discrimination as well. Ideally, if you cannot hire a candidate that is overqualified, do not shortlist them for an interview! In case you have shortlisted a candidate, provide them better feedback than being overqualified. Better feedback can be not being able to meet the salary expectations or you are set out for more challenging roles.

Should you hire someone who is more qualified than you?


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