white Squares Left

What Does It Mean When an Interviewer Says You Are “Overqualified for the Position”?

White Squares Right
Red Squares

What Does It Mean When an Interviewer Says You Are “Overqualified for the Position”?

You’ve just aced the interview and are convinced that a job offer is on its way. Then the hiring manager tells you something frustrating and almost inconceivable: you’re overqualified!  

After showing them the skills you possess, the education you have received, and the experience you have accumulated, they use your outstanding qualifications against you. How does that make sense? Why wouldn’t any employer want you when you meet and exceed the requirements of the job?   

The truth is that most companies are eager to hire a candidate who comes to them with exceptional qualifications, so the term “overqualified” is merely a smokescreen to hide the real reason you weren’t offered the job.  

Here’s a closer look at what employers mean when they tell you you’re overqualified:  

What does “overqualified” really mean?  

Here are just some of the things that employers think when they say you’re overqualified:  

  • You would not be happy in this position: You may think you want the job, but it wouldn’t be long until you would become bored with it. And an employee who lacks enthusiasm isn’t good for the company.  
  • You would be too expensive: The pay rate for someone with your qualifications is beyond the range that is budgeted for the job. We can’t afford to hire you.  
  • You don’t want the job: The job is below your skill level, so you probably applied out of desperation or to get your foot in the door. When you find something more appropriate, you’ll be gone.  
  • You could be a problem: Most managers are happy to hire someone smarter than they are, but if you come across as a know-it-all, they’ll see you as a threat to their authority. Almost any boss will nip that in the bud by not hiring you.  
  • It’s a small company with little room for growth: An employer might be reluctant to hire someone with lots of skills if there is no path for professional growth. Smaller companies often don’t have opportunities for moving up, so they pass on “overqualified” candidates.   
  • You’re too old: It’s against the law to discriminate based on age, so the “overqualified” label becomes a convenient substitute for the issue of age.   

What can you do if you’re labeled as “overqualified”?  

  • Let them know you’re excited about the job: If you can make them understand why this opportunity fits your career goals, it won’t matter to them that you’re overqualified.  
  • Bring your salary expectations in line with the job: If you’re intentionally taking a step back in your career, you need to downgrade your salary expectations.   
  • Explain your situation: Without an explanation, hiring managers are left to guess why you would want this job, given your previous background and experience.   

Are you ready to find a job for which you are qualified?  

Let us help you. Contact Pro Resources for the light industrial or technical/professional position you’re hoping to find. We’ve been in business for over 30 years, so let us use our expertise to help you find your next job.