Aren’t you overqualified for this position?

TRAPS:  The employer may be concerned that you’ll grow dissatisfied and leave.

BEST ANSWER:  As with any objection, don’t view this as a sign of imminent defeat.  It’s an invitation to teach the interviewer a new way to think about this situation, seeing advantages instead of drawbacks.

Example:  “I recognize the job market for what it is – a marketplace.  Like any marketplace, it’s subject to the laws of supply and demand.  So ‘overqualified’ can be a relative term, depending on how tight the job market is.  And right now, it’s very tight.  I understand and accept that.”

“I also believe that there could be very positive benefits for both of us in this match.”

“Because of my unusually strong experience in ________________ , I could start to contribute right away, perhaps much faster than someone who’d have to be brought along more slowly.”

“There’s also the value of all the training and years of experience that other companies have invested tens of thousands of dollars to give me.  You’d be getting all the value of that without having to pay an extra dime for it.  With someone who has yet to acquire that experience, he’d have to gain it on your nickel.”

“I could also help you in many things they don’t teach at the Harvard Business School.  For example…(how to hire, train, motivate, etc.)  When it comes to knowing how to work well with people and getting the most out of them, there’s just no substitute for what you learn over many years of front-line experience.  You company would gain all this, too.”

“From my side, there are strong benefits, as well.   Right now, I am unemployed.  I want to work, very much, and the position you have here is exactly what I love to do and am best at.  I’ll be happy doing this work and that’s what matters most to me, a lot more that money or title.”

“Most important, I’m looking to make a long term commitment in my career now. I’ve had enough of job-hunting and want a permanent spot at this point in my career.  I also know that if I perform this job with excellence, other opportunities cannot help but open up for me right here.  In time, I’ll find many other ways to help this company and in so doing, help myself.  I really am looking to make a long-term commitment.”

NOTE:  The main concern behind the “overqualified” question is that you will leave your new employer as soon as something better comes your way.  Anything you can say to demonstrate the sincerity of your commitment to the employer and reassure him that you’re looking to stay for the long-term will help you overcome this objection.


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