Are You “Overqualified”

It’s one of the most frustrating things to hear from a recruiter – “You’re overqualified.” Essentially, you’ve been told that you are too talented for a position, so now you must go back to the slog of your job search. It can be frustrating and dispiriting, and unfortunately it happens a lot these days. Luckily, if you are persistent, you can overcome this label and convince recruiters that you are the ideal candidate, not the overqualified candidate.

Determine if Your Are Overqualified

First, it’s important to determine if the overqualified label actually fits you. If it does, you may want to reconsider even wanting the position. If you are looking for a job, it can be tempting to jump at the first thing that comes along. But over the long term, a step down will only hurt your career. Don’t be too eager to settle for something less.

Resist the Instinct to Dumb Yourself Down

You might be tempted to write off some of your accomplishments to try and convince the recruiter you’re not as qualified as you seem. This is always a mistake. It doesn’t make you look better in the eyes of the recruiter, and it certainly won’t help you get the job. The solution is not to erase your skills and experience, but to re-frame it.

Offer an Explanation

Employers are hesitant to hire overqualified employees because they worry that the employee will leave as soon as they find another opportunity, turn in subpar work, or perhaps even take the boss’ job. You can lay these fears to rest by explaining why you’re considering a position that seems beneath you. Perhaps you want a better work-life balance, want to break into a new company, or want to pursue a new career path. Try to frame your decision as a logical step rather than a consolation.

Hide Your Desperation

You may be well aware that you are overqualified for the position, but willing to accept it anyway. Sometimes any job is better than no job. If this is the case, don’t let the recruiter know. Desperation is never an appealing quality in a candidate, and no recruiter is eager to hire a candidate who will take “any job.” Replace your desperation to find any opportunity with excitement about finding this opportunity.

Accentuate the Positives

The most effective strategy is to convince the recruiter that your overqualifications are assets they will appreciate having. Explain to them why your management experience makes you an ideal team player. Highlight how your advanced tech skills make you an excellent critical thinker. Show off ways in which your extensive experience can help the company achieve their future goals. When done effectively, you can turn a hesitant recruiter into an enthusiastic advocate.


If you’re actively looking for a job or simply considering your next step, get personalized assistance from the team at Selectek.