Ever been told you’re over-qualified for a job?

This is something that we regularly come across with job applicants being told, or believing, that they are overqualified to be considered for a particular job role.

It’s a simple fact of life that some employers will overlook your CV when sifting through applicants if they feel you are overqualified and, as the candidate, you have to put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself the question “What are they worried about?”

The answer is quite simple.

  1. You’re not going to stay in the job they’re looking to fill and they’ll be judged on that by their own boss.
  2. You’re scared of responsibility and just want to “coast” in the job.
  3. Your experience is greater than theirs and you’ll undermine them.

How do you overcome their concerns?

The first thing you have to do is make sure they interview you, and to do that you may well need to edit your CV. This doesn’t mean lying but it does mean some editing down on the level of information in your CV and shifting the focus into a well written Profile and Key Skills section rather than an in-depth and highly detailed career section.

Your potential new employer needs to understand that you are not taking a step down because you’re burnt out or are scared of responsibility, but that you want to enjoy your job and the role they’re looking to fill is the aspect you enjoy most. Selling, for instance, can be a great job where you spend most of your day talking to customers and helping them make a buying decision – and it’s a great buzz! However, being a Sales Manager can be more about the paperwork and that’s not for everyone.

How long will you stay?

Where an employer is concerned that you are not going to stay with them, then you need to convince them that this is not the case and not leave an interview without covering this point. The employer needs to be sold on your enjoyment of this type of role and, as is often the case, why taking a lower paid job is not an issue. Perhaps your children have left home, or you’ve paid off the mortgage (or both!) and there is no longer that need to really push for that extra few thousand.

Are you after my job?

First interviews are often conducted by someone in HR or by a recruiter, but when you meet your potential new boss for the first time one of their biggest concerns is going to be their working relationship with you. Your experience may look threatening and their obvious concern is going to be that you’ll be after their job. Tackle this head on and tell them that you don’t want their job but, if they ask for advice, your experience may be able to benefit them – stress the potential support you might be able to give them.

Finally, plan the Interview

Think hard about the concerns the interviewer is going to have, and plan how to deal with them and how to ensure they’ve really got the message about your aspirations.