Punk Rock HR Question: Overqualified for a Job

by

Here’s a question from Mister Overqualified.

What exactly does it mean when an interviewer asks, “Do you think you might be overqualified for this position?”

I am currently on the job search and have been on several interviews where I’ve had this question asked. I am a marketing professional, graphic designer, and entrepreneur. I began my career in the corporate world of marketing and ventured out on my own after a few years. I left the company because there really wasn’t much room for growth and they were consumed with corporate bullshit. I went out on my own doing freelance graphic design, marketing consulting, etc. I’ve been doing this type of work both full and part time for almost 4 years now and have loved every minute of it, but I am ready to get back into the full time working world. I know there are positions out there that I would really enjoy with companies that would be a good fit for me, but nothing seems to be panning out. So here’s what I’ve concluded on the above question and you can tell me if I’m right or way, way wrong.

I think a lot of companies are afraid to hire someone they feel might be overqualified because they fear that person will leave if/when something better (higher pay, better title, etc.) comes along. I was asked this question by a hiring manager who was close to my age on one job interview and they hired someone else. I got the feeling from her that she felt I could take her job and to be perfectly honest with you, I was qualified to do so. I think this is a no win question and one that I am getting really sick of hearing.

So in your opinion, what is the best way to answer this question if it’s a position you really want?

Dude, companies are afraid of making bad hiring decisions because it costs money. Since you don’t have a traditional career path, you look risky on paper. Two things.

  1. Recruiters aren’t asking you if you are overqualified. They are asking you to make a case for yourself. So make the best case possible, yo. Be likable, don’t be too needy, and give concise examples of why the job should be yours. Wow them.
  2. Since this question keeps coming up, why don’t you answer it before it’s asked? Take the opportunity to frame your answers in such a way to address concerns about salary, motivation, and your career trajectory. Own your answers. Tell your story. Then move on.

I hope that helps. Now let me shift gears and offer a piece of advice for recruiters. Don’t ask your candidates if they are overqualifed. That’s weaksauce. Asking someone if he’s overqualified for a job is an amateurish way of asking, “Are you desperate and needy for money? Are you taking this job because you can’t find anything else? Would you quit if you found something better?”

I really want one candidate — just one — to answer HELL YEAH I’M OVERQUALIFIED. HELL YEAH I NEED SOME MONEY. HIRE ME, ANYWAY. YOU CAN’T LOSE. I’M AWESOME.

I would hire that guy in a heartbeat. I want an employee with courage, balls, and a taste for danger.

Previous post:

Next post:

Google