Have you ever been told that you’re over-qualified for a job or fear that you’ll be told this?
It’s a crumby thing to hear and, in truth, a cop out from the Hiring Manager. That said, there are a few assumptions they could be using when they say this:
- You’ll be asking for too high of a wage or salary because your experience would demand it.
- You’ll quickly lose interest or get bored with the job, which might hurt team morale having someone not engaged.
- You won’t stay long because you’re going to be looking for new and better opportunities elsewhere.
- You might end up competing to replace or advance past the Hiring Manager.
- You’re not being serious about the job, you’re just applying to keep your unemployment benefits.
Granted, we all know these assumptions can be entirely wrong, but these are just some of the possible things on a Recruiter’s and Hiring Manager’s mind while they are reading your cover letter and resume, interviewing you, or considering who they want to hire.
The challenge for you is to get them to think past these assumptions before they even start. In place of those assumptions, you want them to think about all the advantages and benefits of hiring you.
How to Overcome the “Overqualified” Objection
The key is to make them understand that you appreciate this concern, that you’ve given it a lot of thought about it yourself, and still want the job because you know you’ll be perfect for it. Explain why your “over-qualification” shouldn’t be a worry for them. Here are a few ways to go about saying this.
“I’ve started from the bottom and worked my way up before. I’m ready to do it again. I want to show you what I can do for your team.”
“I’m excited to prove myself and earn my way in your organization. I understand that there’s no short-cuts in life and that many times you have to start from the beginning with a new company and job.”
“Think of the steady hand you’ll have on your team. I’ve seen a lot through my experience and excited that I can help you by keeping folks on the right track and stay composed.”
“Because of my experience, consider all those projects you’ve wanted to do but didn’t have the capacity to do them. I’m confident I can not only do the job capably but can also work on those back-burner projects you’ve been meaning to get around to.”
“I will make you’re job easier and make you look better.”
“I understand you can’t pay me more than others doing the same job, but once I’m on your team, I’ll show you my value because I’ll be able to do so much more than just what you have in the job description.”
There are other ways to say this that might feel more comfortable for you to say. The basic gist of what you’re trying to tell them is “You’d be an idiot not to hire me,” in more polite terms of course. In the end, your goal is to help them talk themselves out of their assumptions and to give you a full and fair consideration.
When You Should Do This
You should apply this strategy at every point of contact you have with a Recruiter or Hiring Manager. That means you should write about it in the cover letter, talk about it while you network, discuss it up front and at the end of your interview, and mention it in your follow-ups throughout the process.
Never let them forget that you’re the solution to their problems and you’re not afraid of taking one step back to move two steps forward. Help them realize that for you, all jobs are important and there’s no role to small. You’re ready to work for them and prove what you can do for their company.