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Everyone knows that it is an employer’s market today. High unemployment continues, and the people who hire workers have never had such abundant choices.

Downsizings and business failures of the past three or four years have left competent people out of work. That expanding pool of job seekers means that instead of seven or eight applicants for a job, some positions attract hundreds of résumés of individuals looking to return to work.

As a jobseeker, you can find scores of articles that tell you how to convince someone to hire you, even though you might think you are overqualified for the position.

And, since the tables are currently tilted in favor of employers, can you blame them for hiring the best people they can?

Organizational psychologist Bruce Katcher of the Discovery Group in Sharon, Massachusetts ponders that question himself.

“The answer is, it depends,” he says. “It depends on how well you are able to integrate them into the organization, how flexible you can be with their salary, how well you provide them an opportunity to use their skills, and how carefully you nurture they along the way.”

Since up to one-third of all workers are likely to change jobs in the next year, employers need to look critically at their motivations for hiring someone.

Katcher says that employers’ desire to hire the best person available ought to be mitigated by the fact that a worker only needs certain skills to satisfactorily do a job. Other skills are often are superfluous to completing a job task. And while he points out that many job seekers are willing to take lower salaries than they once earned, they often quickly become discontent with that pay – even though they agreed to it.

He also is concerned that unless workers are challenged on the job and all the skills they possess, they may become easily disillusioned. Once that happens, these overqualified workers will be looking for work once again, leaving a void that needs to be filled again. Retention is an important part of most companies’ strategy, because it is expensive and time-consuming to have to continually hire workers.

The prospect of hiring overly qualified workers for jobs may not work out for either party, Katcher says. Any employer cherry-picking overqualified workers needs to understand that it needs to be honest with the individuals during the hiring process and not mislead them into believing the job is more than it is.

Katcher says it is okay to promise more authority as time passes, as long as that vow is fulfilled. He also says that workers that are slowly indoctrinated into the company, its mission, management, customer needs, and operations are often more likely to remain with the company.

One method of making these workers feel valued is to consult with them on problems outside their current jobs. When workers tap into their dormant skill sets, it can make their existing job more satisfying.

And, Katcher says, if an overqualified employee is doing a good job a 10 or 15 percent pay raise may mean the difference between them staying or leaving for another job. Again, that nagging retention issue comes back into focus.

Smart employers can find value in overqualified workers and keep them happy, but Katcher says they must dedicate themselves to handling them a bit differently.

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