I am not exactly sure why highly qualified candidates should be summarily dismissed from the selection process. This is a thoughtless and mean-cut posture often made by poorly trained hiring managers or weak HR employees. It is a copout statement.

overqualifiedIf they mean they are concerned that a solid candidate will ask for too much salary, they can cover that in open discussion. Afraid the candidate will leave for a better job too soon after hire? Again, they can discuss that.

Sometimes a résumé presents educational degrees and experience levels that may look intimidating to some readers, and they’ll say you’re overqualified. But you may still be called in for the interview. Go in with your action plan mentally pre-loaded. If this mindless comment is made, you want to be ready to artfully recover. Being prepared is your best option.

Remember chemistry and sound interviewing skills usually win. Plus, with your experience and talent, you’re probably better than many 25-35 year-olds walking through the door.

It is critical that you do your homework, research and find out about the interviewer. Know their education background and what jobs they held. Research the person and increase the likelihood that you’ll land the job. Show that you are resourceful, have commodities, and can readily offer value to help companies to the next level.

Change focus and don’t disagree with an interviewer’s “overqualified” comment. Some ideas on the words to use are spelled out as follows:

“You are correct. I am well [shift from “over” to “well”] qualified for this position. That is why I applied for it. I am ready to deliver quality output now. I will trust that as time passes, the company will notice my contributions and perhaps grant a salary increase or possibly promote me.

In fact, I can see us working together quite happily for some years to come.

I don’t expect more than a fair pay rate. I expect one in line with peers and the company’s existing compensation program. I am ready to verify my skills and add value first.”

Now advance the process and ask about the role under consideration:

“Now, can we discuss what you would expect to see me doing in a few months that would fully convince you that your decision to hire me was absolutely correct?”

Talk about the benefits of how you’re going to perform your duties and apply your well-tuned skills. Clearly show how you’re not like everyone else. Differentiate yourself! At the same time, be careful to not oversell your skills or intimidate the interviewer—you know that they see you as “overqualified” and you want to stay away from that arena. You do want a career opportunity to show your worth, and you will let the earnings take care of themselves…give them the win at this point!

How have you helped convince an employer that you are perfectly qualified—rather than overqualified—for a position?

Do you need assistance in communicating your qualifications more accurately or securing a new career opportunity? Contact us today. OI Global Partners can help!

Charles E. Jannetti is a senior executive advisor and coach for OI Global Partners – Gateway International.

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