Business owners are often reluctant to consider highly qualified candidates for openings in their small businesses. They fear the overqualified applicant will only be a transient employee who will leave the business due to boredom or higher paying opportunities. This is not always the case, however; sometimes those you consider overqualified make the best and most loyal employees. You must carefully discern each individual case when considering applicants with exceptional qualifications. These employees often become solid assets in your business.

Identify specifically what it is that makes a particular candidate overqualified. For example, the candidate could be very experienced or might have an extensive educational background in a particular work field. Once you have determined the extent and nature of her qualifications, you are better able to discern whether employment in your business is feasible. For example, if you own a small grocery store and your candidate has 20 plus years in food service management, she is likely to understand your business well and will need very little training. If, however, the candidate has an advanced degree in agriculture, there is a good chance she might not be a good fit for your business.

Ask the applicant why he is interested in working for your company. Encourage him to be candid regarding what he expects in terms of job duties, advancement and salary. The answer to this question will help you decide whether the individual is likely to be committed to a position in your small business. If the candidate says he is looking for a less managerial responsibility to simplify his work life, this is a good indication he will be satisfied with a regular non-supervisory position in your enterprise. Talent Solutions warns you to be wary of applicants who try to give employers the answers they want regardless of truth. Listen for genuine answers as much as possible.

Consider the future of your company when considering highly qualified candidates. Perhaps you are working toward a large expansion within a few years. If this is the case, you will likely need competent, well-trained and experienced workers to help you realize your vision. Talk to the candidate about your immediate and future plans to gauge her interest in growing with you. Explain what opportunities you have to offer at present and what might be available in the future. What you might consider an applicant overqualified for your present concerns might be so perfect for your upcoming goals that you need to hire her on the spot. The Dice career company also reports that overqualified employees often give present employees a new jolt of energy and inspiration as they work with someone with a high skills set.

Talk to the overqualified candidate about the pay scale. Be candid about the hourly rate or salary. You might not be in a position to offer the applicant the compensation he made at his last place of employment, but squeeze your payroll budget to the extent possible if you are really interested in hiring the individual. The benefits package you are able to offer might be a deciding factor for the applicant as well, so take time to explain it in detail. Be candid about what you can offer in terms of bonuses and incentives. Also, be wary of making promises of future increases that you might not be able to honor when and if the time comes.


Highly qualified applicants are often older employees. Never allow age to be a determiner of employment, as this is unlawful and unethical.