What "Overqualified" Sometimes Really Means
If you apply for a job or attend an interview, you may hear the employer say that you are overqualified for the job in question. Hearing this assessment can be confusing, since it seems like having more experience or skills than you need could only be a positive thing. However, some employers and recruiters will cite "overqualification" as a reason for denying your application.
In such cases, the recruiter or employer is often using "overqualified" as blanket excuse when the actual reason you weren't hired is something he doesn't want to admit. Some of these reasons are listed below.
1. The recruiter has already chosen the candidate he wants to hire
In some cases, a recruiter is conducting interviews only because the law or company policy is requiring him to do so. He already knows who he wants to hire for the position, and the other interviews are merely a formality he must complete before he can make his choice official.
2. The recruiter doesn't like you
As petty as it may seem, a recruiter who doesn't care for your personality is unlikely to hire you even if you are the best candidate for the job. If you didn't connect with him during the interview, he may tell you that you are overqualified for the job just to avoid being rude or seeming biased.
3. Your answers didn't impress the recruiter
Even if your resume is perfect, you won't land the job if you can't translate your knowledge and skills into the interview. If you didn't answer the recruiter's questions as well as he expected, he may use overqualification as an excuse to pass over you.
4. Your ego was too big
There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance. If you came off like a know-it-all in the interview, it is unlikely that the recruiter will select you for the position.
5. You seemed unreliable
When discussing your personal life, you may have indicated that you had a lot of responsibilities or challenges, such as several young children or health issues. To avoid accusations of discrimination, recruiters can't cite these characteristics when denying you the job, so they may use overqualification instead.
6. You've received higher pay or better benefits in the past
If the recruiter notices that you used to have a better job with more perks, he may worry that you will quit when a more desirable opportunity presents itself.
7. You don't seem productive or efficient
If you spoke too slowly or methodically, the recruiter may worry that you won't be able to keep up in a fast-paced work environment.
8. You wouldn't fit in
If your clothing or personality wouldn't fit well within the company's culture, the recruiter may fear that hiring you would lead to drama or conflict among employees. In such cases, he may dismiss you due to "overqualification," rather than admitting that he is discriminating based on your appearance or character.
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