What To Say if You’re Told “Overqualified”

July 15, 2020

© Carole Kanchier, PhD


What to Say if You’re Told “Overqualified”

Tony is an electrical engineer who has managed several significant projects. He is hard-working, competent, seasoned and mature with numerous job successes. But he’s having a tough time finding a position. He’s told he’s “overqualified.”

“We’re really impressed with your skills and experience, but we don’t think you’re right for this position,” employers say.

Has this happened to you? Your work experience may gain the interest of employers but it may also scare them off.  If you can identify employer’s real objections, you can prepare for these concerns and address the issues head on.

Find out how you can present yourself differently. Talk with the people who interviewed you to get specific feedback. Ask them to describe their ideal candidate.

Dealing with objections

What do they mean by “overqualified?” They could mean any of the following:

Objection 1: “Your experience is too technical for us.” They may be feeling intimidated, or may not want to hear how it should be done.

Response:  You could say, “Things are always changing. I’ve done well in other jobs because I look forward to new challenges and opportunities to grow.  I expect to keep learning here as well as make contributions.”

Objection 2:  “You’ll want more money than we can afford.” They believe you won’t be happy with what they offer, or you’re more experienced than other employees.

Response: If applicable, give specific examples of how you helped cut costs or increased revenues in past jobs. Show how you can help them make more money that would justify the extra salary.

If your last job had many management responsibilities, and you prefer technical functions, say, “This position would allow me to focus on technology, the work I enjoy and do best.” If you’re looking for less responsibility, say “I may not be making as much money, but I ‘d really like this work.”

Objection 3: “You’ll find the work boring and leave when a better offer comes along.” They think you’ll jump ship when you get a better offer and they may not want to spend time and money training someone who will leave.

Response: Display your humility and enthusiasm. Show how you’ll be a great team member. Point out your longevity in previous jobs. Say, “As you can see on my resume, I’m not a job hopper. I commit to my employers.” or “I want to see the long-term results of my contributions.”

Offer to sign a contract committing to a specific amount of time with the company.

Objection 4: “You’re more experienced than what the job requires. The work pace, energy level, etc. require a younger person.” They may think you’re too old. As a mature worker they may assume you’ll be tough to terminate because of age discrimination laws.

Response: Show that you have vested pension rights from past employment. Make your age a strength. Stress maturity, judgment, perspective, dependability, a strong work ethic, and ability to handle stress.

Referring to your skills and accomplishments, show how you can produce.

Highlight your flexibility and openness to new ideas. Show that you love learning, have computer skills and keep up with changes in your field. Speak comfortably of your tolerance for ambiguity. Don’t forget your ability to mentor less experienced workers.

Objection 5: “You have the skill set. It’s a question of fit.” This could be something as simple as poor “chemistry” between you and the interviewer.

Response: Stress how you’ll enjoy the pace and energy of their organization. “The energy here is so positive, uplifting, and motivating. I know I’d do a terrific job.”

Outline qualifications

Point by point show employers how your qualifications match up.  Give employers a reason to buy your skills.

If all else fails, ask: “What can I do to convince you that I’m the best person for this job?”

Don’t forget to research the company. Know their mission and culture. Get an updated job description. Find out what they want in prospective employees.

Remember, an interview is a two-way street.

Questers Dare to Change You Job and Life https://www.amazon.com/Questers-Dare-Change-Your-Life/dp/1508408963 by Carole Kanchier offers additional tips to ace interviews and strengthen traits required to succeed at work.

 Check audible edition: htps://www.audible.com/pd/Questers-Dare-to-Change-Your-Job-and-Life-Audiobook/B07VZNKGJF?asin=B07VZNKGJF&ipRedirectOverride=true&overrideBaseCountry=true&pf_rd_p=34883c04-32e5-4474-a65d-0ba68f4635d3&pf_rd_r=TN801GRP49AWQSSYMDYC1

Dr. Carole Kanchier is available for consultations, interviews and keynotes.

Contact: carole@daretochange.com; www.questersdaretochange.com