There are a lot of talks lately about how overqualified employees are becoming more and more common in the workforce.
It seems like everywhere you turn, there’s some story about how somebody with a Ph.D. is working as a barista or how a recent law graduate is working as a sales representative.
The situation is far more drastic when you are in an interview and the interviewer asks, “Do you think you are overqualified for the job?”
You may be wondering what they are trying to get at. Are they concerned that you will leave as soon as a better opportunity comes along? Or, are they worried that your skills and experience make you not a good fit for the position?
In this post, we will explore what this question is really about and how to answer it with sample answers.
We will also provide tips on how to avoid getting rejected for the job when you are overqualified. So, whether you are just starting out your career or have many years of experience under your belt, you should be in a good position next time.
What does it mean when an employer says you are overqualified for the Job?
When the employer asks, “Are you overqualified for this Job?”, it can mean a few things. Let us understand them one by one.
1. Sometimes it means the employer is worried that you will be unhappy in the position because it doesn’t challenge you enough. Other times it means the employer is worried that you are too expensive. Or that you will quit as soon as a better opportunity comes along.
2. In most cases, however, it simply means that the employer thinks you are too smart or experienced for the job. He fears that you will be bored or find it too easy.
3. Overall, interviewers tend to use the “overqualified” word as a smokescreen for the interview candidates. It helps them hide the real reasons behind their reason to reject you. They are trying to avoid various kinds of hassles and anger that they may face from the interviewees.
In this case, you can try to reassure the employer by explaining why you are interested in the position and how your skills and experience would benefit the company. You can also point out that you are willing to take on additional responsibilities or tasks to keep yourself challenged.
However, even if this can be your natural response, it is much better to empathize first. Then ask relevant questions. This can open up the interviewer.
Remember, it is a bit tense situation for both – the interviewer and the job candidate. It helps to remove the stress with the right communication.
When an employer says you are overqualified, they have many concerns that they cannot quickly and openly discuss.
Besides, they want to make sure the candidate they decide upon will stay with the company. They want to be sure about your enthusiasm for the position at hand.
4. In some situations, being labeled overqualified seems similar to the old excuse for ending a relationship: It is like saying, “I hope you can forgive me, it’s not about you; it’s about me!”
Recruiters are sometimes hesitant to be entirely open about their reasons for turning down a candidate.
5 Main Reasons Why Employer may find you Overqualified for the Job
- You don’t seem to match the corporate culture.
- You have too many credentials or previous experience.
- The hiring manager doesn’t like you, can’t imagine working with you every day, and isn’t willing to be impolite.
- You may have been earning well in the past.
- It is also possible that the employer may be trying to find a strong answer from you for why should they hire you!
Also Read about one more tough interview question : What are your Salary Expectations?
Why Employers Don’t Want to Hire Overqualified Candidates
There are many reasons why employers shy away from overqualified candidates. You, as an interviewee, want to know what those reasons are. It will help you immensely in positioning yourself properly in your response.
8 Key reasons why Employers don’t hire Overqualified candidates
1. Employers may be worried that you leave the job soon
The first reason is that the employer may be worried that the candidate will become impatient. You may also come across as casual. It is possible that you may have skills or experience that may be suited for higher levels.
This can mean that you may leave the job as soon as a better opportunity comes along. They may feel that you are only looking for a short-term job and are not interested in building a long-term career with the company.
2. Employers don’t want to pay an employee more than they need to
Many employers are hesitant to hire overqualified candidates because they don’t want to pay them more than they need to.
Overqualified employees can be expensive and difficult to manage. So many employers prefer to hire someone who is a good fit for the position and doesn’t require a lot of training.
There is one more possibility. Employers may feel that they can get less experienced or less qualified people to dowhat the job entails. So why spend more on a perfectly qualified candidate?
3. Employers don’t want an employee who is going to be bored
Employers may be worried that you will become bored and disengaged with your work. This is especially true if you come across as someone who is extra smart or highly capable.
After all, if you have the skills and qualifications for a role that is much higher than what they’re being hired for, it’s possible that you may quickly become frustrated with the work.
They are worried that the current job position may not be attractive enough for you. It may not utilize your skills properly. This means the efforts spent on hiring and training you may get wasted as you soon plan to move on.
4. Employers don’t want an employee who is going to be difficult to replace if they leave
Replacement costs are also a concern for companies when hiring overqualified candidates.
Not only does it cost money to train someone new, but it can also be difficult to find a suitable replacement for an experienced worker.
With so many qualified candidates out there seeking employment, it makes more sense from a financial standpoint to hire someone who may seem overqualified.
5. Employers don’t want an employee who will expect a raise or promotion very soon after being hired
Another reason is that they may be worried that you will expect a raise or promotion very soon if they hire you. This happens especially with capable candidates.
This can be a problem because it can create tension and conflict within the team. Additionally, overqualified employees may be more likely to leave the company if they’re not given the opportunity to advance their careers fast enough. This can create an expensive and time-consuming employee turnover issue for the employer.
6. Interviewer may look at you as his or her future competitor
This happens all the time in the industry. Especially the managers who are incompetent or insecure in their positions tend to avoid smart individuals.
If you face such an interviewer, in some ways you are lucky not to get hired. It is not just about being hired, it is also about getting the right mentoring, support, and growth once you are hired.
7. The interviewer has already decided on someone for the role
This is a fairly common situation in the industry. The hiring manager may have already decided on or spotted someone whom he/she likes.
There is a level of comfort in hiring someone whom you already know or feel confident about. This is where if you have come for the interview through references, you may find yourself in a strong position.
8. Due to age discrimination
Age discrimination is a serious issue in the workforce. And it’s something that older job seekers deal with on a regular basis. When an employer looks at an overqualified candidate, they may automatically assume that the person is too old for the position. This can lead to them overlooking qualified candidates simply because of their age.
That said, there are some benefits to hiring an overqualified candidate.
Overqualified employees often have a lot of experience and knowledge, and they can be very motivated and driven. They may also be willing to work longer hours or take on additional responsibilities. So if you’re an overqualified job seeker, it’s important to highlight these qualities in your application and during the interview process.
How do you respond to being told you’re overqualified?
It can be frustrating to be told you’re overqualified for a job. The rejection feels negative and you can get defensive.
But it’s important to stay positive, especially in these situations. Remember that the interviewer is not saying this to insult you.
In this case, your best response would be to reassure the interviewer that you are interested in the position and that you see it as a long-term opportunity.
When the employer says “you’re overqualified for the position”, how can you start your response?
You can start by saying the following, to show empathy and prod further:
1. I appreciate your concern. Could you tell me what is behind your concerns?
2. Thank you for being honest. May I inquire whether you’re concerned that my skills will harm you in this position? If that’s the case, how can I put everything else aside and focus on your needs?
3. Thanks for the heads up. What would it take for you to feel confident in hiring me at my current level of skills?
Once you have said one of these things, let the interviewer respond. Ensure that you do the following things.
- First, make sure that you take the time to express your excitement and interest in the role. It’s important to let the interviewer know that you’re not just applying for any job – you’re genuinely interested in this particular opportunity.
- Focus on what you can bring to the table. Although you may have more experience than others, emphasize what unique skills and perspectives you can bring to the team. This is where it can be helpful to talk about your personal connection to the company or why you’re passionate about the mission.
- Be prepared to address any concerns the interviewer may have about your qualifications. If they’re worried that you’ll be bored or unchallenged in the role, assure them that you’re excited to learn and grow in the position. Showing that you’re flexible and adaptable will go a long way in convincing the interviewer that you’re the right candidate for the position.
If the interviewer asks Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Make sure to read this article.
5 Sample Answers for “Are you overqualified for this Job?”
1. “No, I don’t think I’m overqualified for this job. As a software engineer, my skills and qualifications perfectly match the requirements for this position. In fact, I would say I’m perfectly qualified for this job. The only reason I could see someone thinking I’m overqualified is if they’re comparing my qualifications to those of other candidates who don’t have as much experience or education as me. But since my qualifications are an exact fit for this job, I don’t think that’s the case.”
2. “In fact, I think this position is exactly what I’m looking for. I’ve worked at a higher level in the past, but this job is a perfect fit for my skills and experience. Plus, it’s an opportunity to learn new things and grow in my career. So no, I don’t think I’m overqualified for this job.”
3. “As you see, I’m no longer concerned with title and salary. I’m more interested in finding a position that will allow me to use my skills and abilities in a way that benefits the company and allows me to grow as a professional. I am confident that my experience and skills will make me an asset to the team, and I am eager to put them to good use.”
4. “I know that I may seem overqualified for this job, but I assure you that my skills and drive are perfect for the position. Don’t you want a winner with the skill sets and experience? My years of experience have given me a wealth of knowledge that I can put to use for your company, and my attitude is always positive and solution-oriented.”
5. “I do not think that I am overqualified for this job. My experience as an account executive at a major media company and my education in marketing will enable me to do a terrific job and exceed your expectations.”
Also Read: Tell me about yourself
How To Avoid Being Rejected For A Job Because You Are Overqualified
1. Don’t apply for jobs you’re overqualified for
Applying for a job you’re overqualified for can often lead to rejection. Hiring managers are often hesitant to bring onboard candidates who are likely to leave as soon as a better opportunity comes along.
2. Do your research
Before applying for a job, be sure to do your research and figure out what the qualifications are for the role. This will help you avoid being rejected because you’re overqualified.
3. Tailor your resume
When applying for a job, make sure to tailor your resume to highlight only the skills and experiences that are relevant to the position you’re applying for. This will help demonstrate that you are qualified for the job.
4. Tailor your summary section
First, emphasize in your application and during the interview process that your qualifications make you the perfect candidate for the position.
Demonstrate how your past experience can be applied to solving the problems of the organization you’re applying to. By doing these things, you’ll show that you’re not only qualified for the job, but that you’re also dedicated to making a positive contribution to the organization.
Also Read: Why should we hire you?
5. Highlight your willingness to learn new things and take on new challenges
If the job requires some skills that you haven’t yet acquired, emphasize your eagerness to learn them. Another strategy is to frame your experience in a way that demonstrates how it can be an asset rather than a liability.
For example, if you’re applying for a position that’s lower on the totem pole than your previous jobs, stress how excited you are to have the opportunity to hone your skills and lead by example from the bottom up.
6. Explain clearly in the cover letter
Explain in the cover letter why you’re interested in the position and are willing to accept a lower salary. Include facts and figures to support your argument. Emphasize that you bring valuable experience and skills to the table that will benefit the company, even if they may be higher than what’s required for the role.
Don’t mention anything about leaving as soon as a better opportunity comes along.
Also Read: What other companies are you interviewing with?
So, Do you think you are overqualified for the job 🙂
From one perspective, being overqualified for a job can be seen as a good thing. After all, you have the skills and experience that surpass the minimum requirements of the position. This makes you a valuable asset to the company and puts you in a good position to contribute to their success.
However, being overqualified for a job is generally seen as a negative thing. Some people may view it as putting you at risk of becoming bored or unsatisfied with the work. Additionally, employers may worry that you’ll be unhappy in the role and will eventually leave for something better suited to your skillset.
If you have much more expertise than the position requires, the business may not comprehend why you want it. You must demonstrate a genuine interest in the work, company, and industry to succeed. Genuine interest implies that you’ve done your homework on what the job entails, how big of a firm it is, and what’s going on in the sector.
As you can see, there are a few things to consider when answering the question of whether or not you are overqualified for a job.
It’s important to be prepared with an answer that shows your understanding of the situation and your respect for the employer’s point of view. If you do find yourself in this situation, don’t worry – take a queue from the sample answers we have written above.