You seem overqualified – why do you want this job?

I hear this as a frequent interview response – “You are overqualified.”  One legitimate concern is that right now a lot of people are settling for “survival” jobs, where any job is better than nothing.  A firm in St. Louis advertised for attorneys at $25,000/yr and was flooded with responses.  And then the legitimate concern is that you will keep looking and move on at the first better opportunity.overqualified, job interview, job skills

Job Applicant Beware

But be aware that being told you are “overqualified” may simply be a very nice way of telling you they simply don’t want you.  It’s hard to be upset when told your qualifications are just so wonderful that it would not be fair to bring you on board.  But now think about that:  if I were looking for a computer guy, would I tell Bill Gates he’s overqualified.  Or would I grab the chance to have someone of his caliber around if only for a short time?

In talking with hiring managers, I hear the stories about people who were “overqualified.”  Often the real feeling is that the candidate is too “arrogant, opinionated, and condescending.”  But no one will tell you that, so the politically correct response is to gently tell you that you are “overqualified.”  Seldom is there a resistance to too much education, experience, or leadership skills.  Try to get to the real reason you are not being offered a position.

I just hired two new ladies for our 48 Days team.  Both had qualifications that far exceeded what I thought I needed.  But now that they are on board, I’m having a blast feeding them new projects to tap into those “overqualifications.”

Don’t accept that you are overqualified.  Instead, explain how your unique skills can accelerate the success of the company you’re talking with.

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