The GetFive Blog

Don't Apologize When Asked the 'Overqualified Question'

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After years of building experience and honing in on their expertise, most people dread hearing the phrase “overqualified” in an interview. The term rarely makes sense. Most people are capable of doing a job or they are not. So what does this word mean?

It’s probably that in most instances, when someone asks why you would consider a job you’re overqualified for, they believe some ulterior motive is at work.

One concern may be that a person is only trying to get a job with less pay and less responsibility while they look for a position more suited to their experience. They worry the person has no intention of staying in the job for more than a couple years.

Of course, the subtle implication here is the person’s age. Age discrimination is against the law, but unfortunately it can play a part in a hiring manager’s decision, although it often comes under the guise of claiming someone is “overqualified.”

Many come to GetFive hoping to make the transition from the for-profit to the not-for-profit arena. Often, they must overcome the “overqualified” stigma. In these cases, salary is often a key issue.

Many have found their way around these obstacles through utilizing GetFive's methods such as The Seven Stories and Forty-Year Vision exercises, crafting the appropriate Two-Minute Pitch, and positioning themselves correctly on their resume.

In short, you need to convince the hiring manager you are the best person for the job by sharing relevant experiences from your background, not hiding them. Be prepared to take control of the interview and let the interviewer know why this job is the right career move for you. Lastly, do not apologize for who you are and what you have accomplished!

Want more? Check out Why a Long-Term Vision Is Critical At Every Age