Overqualified workers

Tips for Hiring Overqualified Employees

When you post a job ad, it’s not uncommon to receive responses from candidates who are overqualified for the position. People applying for these jobs may have their own reasons for doing so. At first glance, you may want to jump on hiring an overqualified employee or, on the other end of the spectrum, immediately disqualify them. However, it pays to assess the situation carefully. It’s essential to identify the pros and cons of hiring someone overqualified so that you can make the right decision for your company.

These tips and insights can help you navigate hiring an overqualified employee.


Happy employees standing


What Does it Mean to be Overqualified?

An overqualified candidate has a more remarkable and comprehensive resume than the employer was expecting to receive. The candidate may have skills, education, and experience beyond the scope of what a company was requesting for that position.

If you’re wondering — can you tell a candidate they are overqualified? The answer is yes. It’s always best to be open and honest about where a candidate stands, even if you decide not to hire them. If you do decide to proceed with hiring an overqualified candidate, informing them of their status will help future conversations about the position’s duties, salary, and other aspects go smoothly.


Benefits of Hiring Overqualified Employees

Assessing the benefits and drawbacks of hiring overqualified employees will guide you in making your decision. Let’s consider the pros first when hiring someone overqualified for a job:

  • Gain a top-tier employee: Hiring overqualified employees will likely yield increases in productivity, quality, and overall performance due to the candidates having a higher skill level.
  • Reduce time spent training: Since the employee has more qualifications than necessary, you won’t need to do as much training to get them on board.
  • Use the employee as a mentor or trainer: The employee may have additional skills and experience that make them a good candidate for training others.


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Disadvantages of Hiring Overqualified Candidates

When someone is overqualified for a job, there are also disadvantages:

  • May cost more than what you planned to pay: An overqualified candidate may expect a salary in line with their skills and experience.
  • Candidates may want a promotion right away: There is a possibility the individual will expect a fast climb to the top since they’re capable of doing so.
  • The person may become bored with the position because it’s too easy: If the work isn’t stimulating enough, the individual could quickly become bored.
  • Candidate may not stay with the company: If an overqualified candidate is unmotivated due to boredom, they may not stay at the company too long.


Tips for Hiring an Overqualified Candidate

If you decide on hiring overqualified employees, you want to ensure that the experience goes well and is successful. These tips should help the process go smoothly:

  • Make sure you pay them appropriately: If someone is willing to work in a position that they are overqualified for, do your research and be transparent with them about what you’re willing to pay based on market rates. They will appreciate the fair salary and be more motivated to stay in the position.
  • Keep communication channels open: Make sure to keep an open line of communication between you and the employee. Be upfront with them about the specifics of the job before hiring.
  • Assess whether you can shape the job role appropriately: In some situations, it’s helpful (and motivating for the employee) if you adjust the job role to fit their experience.
  • Try to keep employees interested with job motivators: You may need to get creative to help keep employees interested and motivated in the job position. You could give them special assignments that perk their interest, or you could let them be a mentor to other employees.


Hiring an overqualified employee can have its benefits if you’re strategic. For more hiring tips, head to our Employer Resource Center.

By iHire | June 16, 2022