How to Deal With Over-Qualification for the Job You Want

Last week we discussed how to handle difficult job interviews and how to answer correctly : “ Why exactly do you want to work here? (Spoiler alert: This is much easier than you think.) In our comment section, one reader mentioned another potential scenario you might encounter while looking for a job: How do you explain that you need a job that you are overskilled for?

“This is the reality that many of us face,” writes the proud American . “Why do you want to move from working at XXXX to working for little me?” this is the one I put up … but I had to lie a little. “

This is difficult because you can look like a burden in the eyes of the hiring manager; They definitely don’t want to hire an employee who will leave after six months because you are tired of the job or are actively looking for another job with a higher salary. “For an employer,” u / johnnymotion wrote on Reddit , “it’s better to have stability in the long run than instability with a short-term burst of talent.”

According to Brianna Rooney, CEO of recruiting firm Millionaire Recruiter and , hiring managers often overlook highly qualified candidates. “In fact, senior candidates are given shortcuts and placed in a bucket by hiring managers,” she said in an email. “… It is definitely up to the candidate and / or recruiter to market themselves properly.”

I once had a hiring manager who told me bluntly that I was too qualified for the position I was applying for, which was an amazing hurdle to overcome. Luckily, if you’ve made it to the initial interview, your answer doesn’t have to be hard – and honesty is often the best option.

Don’t think right away that you are too qualified.

For starters, if asked in an interview why you want the job, don’t feel too qualified, despite all the signs. Why? There may be dozens of other super-qualified candidates they’ve interviewed and your resume might not seem as impressive in context. And you may not be as qualified as you think; after all, some job listings may contain only the minimum requirements for applying.

In the Harvard Business Review, Berryn Erdogan, professor of management at Portland State University, reiterates that you shouldn’t claim to be overly qualified unless the hiring manager decides to do so. “If someone else says this about you, it’s flattering,” she tells HBR. “When you say that, it is repulsive.”

Instead, as we wrote earlier , simply declare that you need a job. You must describe exactly why you like specific responsibilities to convince them that you are well aware of the responsibilities associated with that role. If the interviewer goes further and asks why you took on this job as a candidate with significant experience, you should then explain why you are willing to accept the role.

“The real way to do this is to show passion for the company,” said Brianna Rooney. Remind companies that they are the exception, not the rule. Maybe it’s a company that you admire, or you want to change the industry, or this role is better suited to your interests. During an interview for which I was “overqualified,” I explained that I was interested in the direction the company was heading and eventually got a job offer.

It is also important to express your long-term commitment to the job. As Fast Company writes , you create a constructive case for your hiring, which means convincing them that you will succeed at the job, not quickly give it up. You can, for example, explain why you might see yourself in a role in the long run or with a certain responsibility associated with a job that you are generally passionate about. Just be specific and go back to what you may have already discussed during your interview.

If you need a job for other reasons

On the other hand, maybe you want to get a job because you feel exhausted from your last job or you no longer want to lead others. That’s okay too – and honesty works up to a point. Again, you must explain the reason why you want to leave your current position (without berating the employer) and focus on the needs of the potential employer, Fast Company writes . And if it’s burnout or some other circumstance that’s harder to explain, conciseness may be your best bet.

In our last post, user lalieg explained how honesty worked to their advantage as they tried to step down from their budget manager role in favor of an entry-level job. “I just said, ‘If I never have to see another budget spreadsheet again, it will be too soon,” they said. “They laughed and I got the job.”

Another commentator, MJT , was even more honest when interviewing about his job. “This is a brutal economy and I’m looking for a place where I can serve people and make money to pay bills,” they explained to the hiring manager. “… If you are concerned that I will do this while looking for another job, I have a question, what is the current average length of stay in this job? I guess it’s a year, maybe two? In the meantime, I am ready to work hard, work well, and I hope that a vacancy will open up here and I will be able to advance on it. “

And if Ask the Manager questions about your willingness to receive a lower salary – and they are likely to answer – Allison Greene offers a simple answer: “At this stage in my career, it’s more important for me to have a job that I enjoy. than a salary. I have no problem earning less than in the past. ” As we wrote earlier, a pay cut can even help you climb the corporate ladder.

If you’re having trouble even getting ready for your interview, Green recommends that you address all of these issues in a cover letter. You might even consider editing your resume to reflect the specific needs of the employer.


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