Serious Question: What Does Being ‘Overqualified” For A Job Mean?

Being over qualified for a job may sound like a compliment, but it rarely is. This is a Band-Aid phrase that has a lot of meaning opposite of what it sounds. Unless you are an airline polite applying to work the ticket counter or baggage area then it is a polite way of saying “not a chance” or “we are not interested”. That is unless you can sell yourself and explain the reasons why this would be a job you would love to have. It is your chance to take the floor, and almost never meant to be a final answer.

Let’s take a closer look at what being overqualified for a job really means.

While some potential employers use the phrase loosely, others really mean it when they tell you that you are overqualified. In this case you are cutting yourself short and they are letting you know it. Unfortunately in today’s workforce a lot of people are taking jobs that they are overqualified for and happy to have them. So, how do you get around that hurdle?

Honesty is the best policy, so let them know that you understand that you have extensive qualifications, however you need gainful employment. Let them know that the search has been taxing, and you would love to take the position with the option to move up the company ladder. Reassure them that not only will you be happy with the new position, but that you will be a valuable asset to the team on a long term basis.

Look, when a potential employer says that you are overqualified, that is not the end of it. This is actually opening the floor for you to sell yourself. You have to convince them of why it is you want this job when it is one you are “overqualified” for. Maybe you were a restaurant manager in your last position, but you are happier serving the guests. That is not uncommon, and often the money s actually better. If it is something like that then let them know. Remember, they are people too. They just want to make the best choice for the success of the company. You have to help them do this by making your intentions clear.

It is also important to make them understand that you are not going running for the hills when something a little better becomes available. They need to know you are committed, and that you are really going to be satisfied with the position. Your contentment with the position will directly affect the work that you do, and no one wants to be left high and dry with an absentee employee who offered no notice.

Hiring employees that are overqualified is actually quite risky

Almost no one wants to take a position that they are overqualified for. It comes across as desperate measures. Most employers’ fear is that the employee will become bored and suddenly quit. There is also the chance that you will be too busy making suggestions to do the more meager job that you were hired on to do. No boss wants to be told how to do their job even if you did hold the same position for years, and they do not want a miserable employee who constantly feels undervalued on their hands either.

If you are told you are overqualified you must let them know that you have a full understanding of the duties and responsibilities of the job, and they you can draw the line at the duties and responsibilities that you are not being hired on to do.

Allow the interviewer to see that you can work well in any setting, that you are not after their job but only the one that you are applying for and how you feel you will be an asset to the team with your extensive background.

key is to convince them that the “over qualifications” are an asset to you and them to get the job that you are being hired to do done impeccably, and they need to know you are in it for the long haul.