Whether you are a recent grad with a few internships under your belt, or a seasoned professional simply looking to focus on a different area of your career, missing out on an opportunity because an employer deems you as “overqualified” is a problem you might experience at some point. Believe it or not, employers are apprehensive to hire overqualified candidates because they often feel those employees will leave the organization once they find a better (maybe higher paying) opportunity. Since this isn’t always the case, if you’ve ever been rejected for a role because you were overqualified, these tips may help you fine tune your approach to land the next job you’re considered overqualified for.
1. Simplify your resume
If you are applying to a position and you have more years of work experience than is required, simplify your resume/cover letter to ensure employers don’t develop preconceptions about your qualifications before meeting you. For example, we recommend using a functional resume format, which highlights the skills you’ve acquired through your career accomplishments. Ultimately, this should help the hiring manager focus on the specialized skillset you possess and how it can help their organization, rather than the number of years you’ve been in your field.
2. Be enthusiastic about the role
Hiring managers look out for prospective candidates that are excited about the role(s) they interview for because it shows a genuine interest in the organization. On the other hand, a prospective employer is less likely to hire a candidate who may have a robust professional profile, but shows no enthusiasm about the opportunity during the interview. However, if your interviewer sees that you are enthusiastic about the role throughout the interview, it may help the interviewer realize that you will bring the same passion to the work you produce if you are hired.
3. Speak to the longevity of your career with the prospective employer
One reason why employers might choose not to go with an overqualified candidate is because of their concern that the applicant might only take the position temporarily, and move onto a higher paying opportunity as soon as they get the chance. To prevent them from making this assumption, make sure you speak to your desire to share a long-term relationship with the organization. Keep in mind that just because you are overqualified doesn’t mean you should undersell yourself. Instead, let the interviewer know that you have the skills to hit the ground running starting on day one. In the end, try to leave an impression that you’re not just looking for a position to attain a career goal and leave, but you are trying to take your career in a different direction and this opportunity is a great step in the right direction.
4. Be honest
One of the easiest ways to set yourself up for failure during any interview is to be dishonest with the hiring manager. Lying may result in the employer finding out that you are being dishonest and could damage your professional reputation in your field. To avoid any misunderstandings, you should be honest with your interviewer about your reasons for pursing the role. For example, if you have been in a managerial role for a number of years and now seek less direct control of business operations in order to focus on a different area of your profession, let your interviewer know. The more open you are throughout the interview process, the easier time the hiring manager will have understanding your interest for taking a role you seem overqualified for.