It used to be that hiring overqualified candidates was a risky move, since they would probably not be satisfied with the position for very long. However, economic downturns have given many people a chance to think about the characteristics of a job that are most important. Therefore, you may actually receive applications from skilled job seekers who are placing a greater value on aspects such as security, company ethics or the ability to work a flexible schedule instead of a huge salary. Rather than immediately dismissing the overqualified candidate, do a little research to determine why they are interested.

Question the candidate on how they will apply their skills to the position. Rather than the need to learn new skills to fulfill the job, the overqualified candidate has the challenge of using his abilities within the confines of the position. Asking for a game plan as to how he will funnel his knowledge implies that you are aware of his capabilities and want to be sure that he will be satisfied with the position.

Speak honestly about the position and voice any concerns that you may have regarding the candidate's experience. Possess a non-judgmental attitude and allow the candidate to address each of your concerns. It can be common for a hiring manager to assume from the beginning of the interview that the overqualified candidate will not work out. However, by keeping an open mind you may actually find a viable employee.

Discuss the aspects of the company that the candidate is drawn to. She might be very willing to trade in a higher position at another company that requires a two-hour commute each day. Your organization’s flextime schedule may allow her to drop her kids off at school each morning, which could be an extremely attractive trait. Or, possibly, you are offering a position that allows the employee to work at home, which saves the candidate money on childcare.

Ask about pay expectations. This can be a tricky area when discussing the job with an overqualified employee. Chances are that they will be taking a pay cut if they accept the position. A viable candidate will likely be anticipating this question and answer with a realistic figure.

Discuss the candidate’s short- and long-term goals. Express that you are worried he will want to leave for a more challenging position in just a short time, and therefore, ask how this position fits in with his five-year plan. In essence, you are asking the candidate for a full explanation of why this particular position is attractive to him and how he plans to use it to further his career.

Tell the candidate that you have decided to go with another applicant if you feel the overqualified candidate is not a good fit after completing the interview process. Keep the reasons on a business level and specific to the particular position. For example, you may explain that you prefer a candidate that will be able to go through your training process without any preconceived notions, so that they will more easily adapt to your particular methods. Encourage the candidate to periodically check for other openings within the organization in which their qualifications might better fit.