I was recently talking to someone who is ridiculously overqualified for most of the roles he would find and interview for.
He would do very well in any role he applied for, and wanted to work in, but I could tell that he was communicating his brand in a way that he wouldn’t get many chances to interview.
So we had a chat about being overqualified, and how to overcome it. What we didn’t talk about was what it really means when someone says you are overqualified. I’ll share my thoughts with you:
When someone says you are overqualified they are could be saying they are convinced that, while convinced you can do the job, they are worried that as soon as you find a better offer, a bigger job, one that is more in-line with your previous titles or capabilities, they will not be able to match it and you’ll be gone.
When someone says you are overqualified they are admitting that they don’t need someone that is as good as you are… they can get the job with a junior person. Quality? We’ll worry about that later… we can train the junior person to get the experience and wisdom you’ve earned!
When someone says you are overqualified perhaps they are proving that they are incompetent managers who really don’t know how to hire above themselves (even though business experts say that is the best way to grow your business).
When someone says you are overqualified they might be saying that you are too expensive. High qualifications can mean you require (or are used to) more compensation. This could be an honest decision based on their inability to pay you what you should make, but it could also mean they don’t understand the complexity of the job, or the potential that doing the job at the level you could do it at could result in great financial gain.
When someone says you are overqualified they are saying they just aren’t ready for you, and you need to find a company that is.
Think about the job search ecosystem as supply (you) and demand (the hiring company). We think that companies are sophisticated and do the best thing for the company… but that’s not always true.
If you are overqualified I suggest you reconsider how you are selling/presenting yourself and figure out how to repackage yourself for the job you want.