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How to Get the Job When You Are Overqualified

Sometimes, the job interview process feels like damned if you do, damned if you don't. You make a point of educating yourself, developing skills, and applying for jobs that in your area of expertise. Then you hear it: "you're overqualified." Understand why employers think this is a bad thing, and be ready to make your case in your next job interview.

Sometimes, the job interview process feels like damned if you do, damned if you don’t. You make a point of educating yourself, developing skills, and applying for jobs that in your area of expertise. Then you hear it: “you’re overqualified.” Understand why employers think this is a bad thing, and be ready to make your case in your next job interview.

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Why Employers Worry About Hiring Overqualified Workers

Do You Know What You're Worth?

One of the biggest concerns about hiring overqualified workers is that the employee will first become bored and distracted, then their work ethic will fall. They will come in late, take excessive breaks, and lose interest in a job that is “beneath them.” As soon as something better comes along, the overqualified employee will jump at the chance to take it, leaving the employer with a vacancy to fill.

It is not unfair to ask you to do a little soul-searching. If you are overqualified for the job, think about whether you will you stay and put in your all. If you can truly say that you will, the next step is to be prepared for the questions that will come your way when the interviewer looks at your qualifications.

Be Ready for These Questions

  • “We can’t pay you enough.” Be willing to discuss salary openly, but do not come across as desperate. Know your salary needs before you go into the interview, and consider ahead of time whether you are willing to take a pay cut. 
  • “You will be bored in this job.” Come prepared with a list of things that appeal to you in the job, and discuss what you hope to learn.
  • “You will leave as soon as something better comes along.” Lean on your track record, if you have a history of staying for long periods of time at companies, or provide reasons why you think you’ll be able to grow in this position for a while.

Be prepared to address the employer’s concerns, and discuss why you want this job. You might need the schedule because it fits into your personal life. You might want to develop certain skills, and this position will enable you to do that. You might be especially interested in working for this particular company and, if that is case, be ready to talk about why you like the company so much.

Tell Us What You Think

Have you ever been overqualified for a job? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.


What Am I Worth?

What your skills are worth in the job market is constantly changing.