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Hiring Overqualified Employees Could Help or Hurt

Some applicants may seem overqualified for a position. It is important to consider the pros and cons of hiring an overqualified candidate.

Advantages Include Knowledge

Someone who is overqualified for a position will usually have a great deal of knowledge to offer. They may be overqualified because their education or experience exceeds the requirements of the position. That education or experience could be valuable to a small business that usually operates with a minimum number of employees.

If an individual brings a great deal of knowledge to the company, they might be able to help other employees improve their skills. The overqualified individual may also be able to offer insights into how other businesses operate, and that could help the owner achieve efficiencies that would otherwise have to come about through trial and error.

Overqualified workers can be a valuable asset for the company, and they may be able to help the business grow at a more rapid rate.

Disadvantages Include Stability

In the current economic environment, a number of business owners receive applications from overqualified candidates. Some business owners, as a matter of policy, reject those applicants. This might be related to the perception that an overqualified employee will continue their job search and leave as soon as a better position becomes available. This is certainly possible, but extending the logic offers a troubling picture of a business that hires only unqualified employees who are lacking the ambition to advance their own careers. Given the two scenarios, it might be best to consider overqualified employees in the hiring process.

Hiring and managing employees is always challenging. Selecting the best candidate could be the best way for the business to enjoy profitability and growth. Concerns about the loss of overqualified employees are valid, but could be met by offering these valuable employees incentives that encourage them to stay and contribute to your long-term success.


Michael Carr is a small business expert who has been involved in the successful development of three small businesses.