• Tuesday, April 06th, 2010

We have had many requests for another article on being “Overqualified”. (If you have not read the original one, click here to readRejection Reason: Overqualified“. When someone is rejected for this reason, the candidate is often inclined to be upset and confused because he/she believes that they have met all the requirements, the interview went very well, and they are more than happy to perform the expected responsibilities, so why does it matter to the employer? Overqualified or not, they can and want to do the job!

If you are being conceived and rejected because you are overqualified for the position, keep in mind the employer’s main concerns:

1) You will be bored in this position;

2) You will not be satisfied with this position’s salary range;

3) You will leave as soon as you are offered a better opportunity;

4) If that happened, they will have to go through the time-consuming and expensive process of hiring and training a replacement.

You have to admit, these are legitimate concerns. If you were on the employer’s side, you would have done been worried about the same issues. So, how do you overcome them ?

During the interview, be the first to address the issue. Take the opportunity to bring up the subject to discuss and convince the employer that this will not be an issue. Just like any other job interview, the candidate should anticipate questions / issues and should be very well prepared.

So, how do you convince the employer that this will not be an issue? How do you explain why you are applying for a lower level position (other than being interested in any job at this point)? Consider the following statements:

1) I have always been interested in working for your company

2) I have been trying to break into the Medical Device Industry (or any other relative industry), and I am willing to accept less salary or a lower position to establish myself within this industry.

3) My family needs me, I need a new position that is less stressful so I could focus and spend more time with them.

4) I am tired of the extensive travel and wants to settle in corporate.

5) The salary is not my main concern, as long as the opportunity is appropriate. Finding the right corporate culture and position is a much higher priority for me. I am looking for a long-term career move….

Can you think of other tips to share with us on the Overqualified issue? Would love to hear from you in comments!

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9 Responses

  1. 1
    S R 

    Thank you for this article, it is very timely. If the HR parsing process does not kick my submission as overqualified, I am hoping for an interview in the near future for a postion where this is relevant.

    In addition to the possible reasons you noted for an interviewee to give, there is also my case where in my previous postion the opportunities for career growth had been limited by the size and structure of the company therefore I am happy to take a step back to open up further opportunities for growth.

  2. 2
    C Berry 

    This is good material, pre- Great Recession. Now it’s “you’re not overqualified enough!”

  3. 3

    Overqualified or not, they can and want to do the job! I have been unemployed for over nine months. By now, I am willing to take a job being over-qualified. The employer doesn’t realize that this job will be much more exciting than no job at all…

  4. 4

    Being Overqualified has certain attributes – like Job Title, Salary range expected and current, flexibility of role as contract or temporary. If we have such attributes developed rangebound then we can definitely manage being “Over Qualified”.

  5. 5

    The vast majority of people I meet during my working day are bored, unsatisfied with their pay and claim they would leave if they had something better to go to. Acording to The Washington Post ’55 per cent of all US employees were found to be “not engaged” in their work’ and a third of Britons claim to be bored at work. Remember these aren’t potential employees, but people already working in an organisation.

    There are lots of reasons so called ‘overqualified’ people go for jobs. I’m afraid the reasons you’ve listed to deny them employment are a reflection on the hiring organisations. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve seen people employed to do a job they weren’t suited to do because they learned the very answers you quote and reguritated them in an interview. Isn’t it about time there was a little bit of honesty in the employment field?

    So someone is a little overqualified:

    Doesn’t that mean they are easier to train and would be able to do the job with less support?

    Doesn’t that also mean they could bring added value to the role?

    As far as I’m concerned ‘Over qualified’ is a phrase used by people with no imagination or respect. If they can’t see past their own shortcomings then they don’t deserve an employee who could make a difference.

  6. 6

    But what do you do when you are 60 and somebody tells you that you are “overqualified” to be a CEO or COO? Would you believe I’ve been told that?

  7. Rayan,

    Thank you for sharing this article. My Sister just had this objection from an employer, so I’ll share the information with her!


  8. 8
    Subrato Das 

    Good article. I was gone through this before. Being a Master in Biomedial Engg, I was too overqualified in India where all they require were diploma holders let alone a bachelors degree holder.

  9. 9

    These are some excellent comments. But in a lot of cases the “successful candidate” has already been located by the hiring manager. It is up to the company / HR to go through the processes of defining, posting, advertising the position, then responding to / dispositioning seemingly qualified applicants. Passing on a candidate because they are under / overqualified is a way to eliminate someone without infringing on a protection (race gender, age, etc).

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