Job Interview Question

I noticed that you are applying for a position that is not as senior as your past positions. Why would you consider a job that is, in effect, a demotion for you?

How To Answer Interview Questions Series

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This is a question you might get asked early on in the process, like in a phone interview.   If you have a lot of experience, it’s going to be obvious that you’re overqualified.  So the question is, ‘Why would you take a job that’s less than what you’re qualified for?’

There can be a whole host of reasons you can cite…as long as you never, ever say anything that sounds like, “Because I’ve been out of work for so long that if I don’t get a job soon, I’m going to lose my house.”  Even if it’s true.

That’s clearly one of the big things they’re worried about when they ask you this question.  They’re worried that you just want A job, not THIS job, and that as soon as something better comes along, you’re gone.   Or they’re worried that you’ll be bored.  The job won’t be a good fit and you won’t be happy…which means that eventually, you’ll jump ship.  And all the money they’ve invested in hiring and training you is gone, too.

They want to know that the job is going to be a good fit for you.

Even though taking a job that’s considered a step backward in your career is considered to be a little unusual in our super-competitive society, there are plenty of reasons you might want to do it.

Maybe it’s a shorter commute.  Maybe you tried working in management but what you really enjoy is the hands-on work of your industry.  Maybe you just really like this company or the product they make.  Maybe there’s some experience you can get in this job that you can’t get anywhere else.  Maybe the culture at this company is a better fit for you.  Maybe there are growth opportunities at this company that you can’t get at your old one (because that was a small company and this is a big one with lots of room to advance).

Since those reasons aren’t readily apparent to others, you’ll have to explain.  Communicate to the hiring manager why this position at this company is a perfect fit for you.

And then point out that the fact that you’re a little overqualified for this job is actually a bonus for them because they’re getting someone with lots of experience.   In this situation, you almost certainly have more experience than the other candidates and that’s a big plus for them.  It’s another selling point for you, and you should help them to recognize it.


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