What To Do If You’re Told You’re Overqualified For The Job
12 September 2019

Having skills and experience in abundance is rarely considered a bad thing – especially when it comes to job hunting. But what if your professional background hinders you? How do you persuade a company that you’re the right choice for the role?

First it’s important to understand the perspective of the employer. If you’re applying for a mid-level management role for example, at an SME, despite having worked in a senior management role for a large international company, it may look like you’re taking a step backwards. This worries employers as they may assume you’re viewing this role as temporary until something better comes up. And most employers are looking for permanent, loyal and long-term employees, especially after all of the effort of the recruitment process. Many companies might also not be prepared to offer a salary that meets your experience.

So if you find yourself in this position, here are our top tips for securing a role as an overqualified candidate.


Express Your Interest In That Specific Job Or Company

Reassure your potential employer that first of all, you aren’t looking for any old gig as a stopgap, and second of all, that it’s their company and role that you’re specifically attracted to. Be open and honest and don’t beat about the bush. Discuss why you want to work for them over another larger company that might better match your skills and qualifications. Being as detailed as possible about how you’re looking for a different challenge will help the employer or recruiter better understand your motivations for applying, and allow them to better envisage you as part of the team.


Show How The Job Fits In With Long-term Goals

Since an employer might worry that you’ll jump ship as soon as a better offer comes along, let them know that you’re prepared for longevity. Discuss how this role in particular fits in with your long-term goals, and what you’re looking to achieve at your time with the company.


Be Flexible On Salary

As a top player who’s been used to certain remuneration, you need to be prepared to negotiate your salary and take a cut. Make clear that you’re comfortable with a salary that reflects the job and not your experience, and that you’re aware of what you’re walking into. An employer may be suspicious that you’d take a pay cut, so explain to them why you’re willing to sacrifice that and what other benefits this role would provide for you instead.


Emphasise The Advantages Of Hiring You

Sell yourself. Instead of fixating on being ‘overqualified’ talk about being a high achiever with a lot of experience and ideas to bring to their company. Emphasise your capabilities and hybrid skills, such as being able to train staff or contribute to business development. If you confidently believe that you’re the right candidate, don’t be shy when it comes to showcasing your talents and experienced perspective.


Have you ever applied for a job and been told you’re overqualified? Let us know your experience on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn. You can also check out our current vacancies here.


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