Job Interview Question

Are you overqualified for this job?

How To Answer Interview Questions Series

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If you get asked this question in your job interview, you may jump straight to frustrated—especially if you’re an older worker and assume they’re telling you you’re just too old.  But companies facing hiring issues really don’t want to make a mistake.  They don’t want to go to the time and expense of hiring someone who will just move on to something that pays more as soon as they find it.  Most people want to climb the ladder and make more money, so why wouldn’t you?

So when they ask you if you have too much experience, think about the question behind the question.   What they’re really asking is, are you going to be bored?   Is this really the right position for you?  Are you really going to be satisfied here?   Drill down a little more and it’s:  Are you a fit for this job?

Answer that question.  They’re looking for you to help them feel better about hiring you.

You can do that with the answer you give and believe me, they’re listening.  They know they can learn a lot about you from what you choose to say.

Here are some suggestions:

I might be overqualified, but wouldn’t that be wonderful for you?  Because then you’d have someone who was more than ready to do well in this…someone who’s done this before, who understands what it takes to be successful at it and can do it again.“   Remember, they always need to know the answer to those 4 unasked job interview questions:  Do you understand the job?  Can you do the job?  Will you do the job?  Do you pose a risk to their own continued employment?

Or you can say, “The truth is that I am overqualified for the job.  But it looks wonderful to me because of X, Y, and Z.”  X, Y, and Z are your own reasons why this job fits you (other than money or responsibilities or possibility for advancement).

And it could be anything.  I remember speaking to one gentleman who was clearly overqualified for the job he was applying for, but who wanted it because the commute was significantly shorter.  The company was freaking out because they didn’t understand, but he said, “Hey, my house is paid off so I don’t need the money, and I like where I live.  I’m not interested in moving. I just want to live my life.  And right now, my job requires a 2-hour round-trip ordeal every day.  I don’t want that anymore.  This place is 5 minutes from my house.  That extra time in my day would be worth a lot to me.”

Once he communicated that to them, they understood and were excited about hiring him.

You have to tell them why they’re perfect for you.  They may not always understand it on their own.

And they will make assumptions about you.  You can’t just think that they will take you at face value.  This is a big risk for them and they want to not make a mistake.  So help them see why you’re a great fit.

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