How to Handle the Objection – “You’re Overqualified”

How to Handle the Objection “You’re Overqualified”
This is one of the issues I’m asked about the most when training recruiters and franchisees.

“They are not hiring me because I’m overqualified.  I have excellent experience and advanced degree, but I’m willing to take a lower-level position.”

Understand the Concerns of the Hiring Authority
Employers hesitate to hire a person who is overqualified because they believe the person could be bored or unhappy.  As a result, they feel you will quit the minute a better paying opportunity with more responsibility presents itself.

Examine why you are willing to take a step back.  The response, “I need a job!” will not endear you to an employer.  You must effectively explain why a demotion is a good option for you.

Examine why you want the position. You must use your communication skills to convince the hiring authority why a demotion is a good option. You must create a reasonable explanation.

Some effective explanations could include: 

“My extensive travel has cost my family time for years.  It’s important to me to accept a position that involves far less travel so I can spend more time with my family.”

“When I review my job history, I was the happiest and most fulfilled when I was hands on in operations, not when I was managing others.  This is the reason I’ve decided to focus on an operations vs. management position.”

You need to show why it makes sense for you to accept what seems to be a step back in your career.

Don’t Water Down Your Resume
If you are not honest about your abilities, you might end up accepting a new job that is not a good match for you.  Most employers will take advantage of additional skills you bring to the table, once they feel comfortable with your level of interest.  Often, you start in a job that is a step back but because of your abilities, you end up being promoted to a position with more responsibility and compensation.

Don’t Appear Desperate
If you appear desperate to take ANY job because bills are piling up, you will not get hired.  If you say, “I’ll accept any job, just to get my foot in the door” you will often be eliminated from consideration.  Hiring authorities want to hire the most competent person to perform the responsibilities of the specific job they have available.

You need to show a high level of interest and a high level of confidence in your ability to transfer skills from past jobs into the current opportunity.  It is your job to show the skills you possess that are transferrable, not wait for the hiring authority to figure it out for themselves.

Customize Your Career Summary and Cover Letter
Your resume will be screened out if you have not customized it to fit the opportunity offered.  This is different from dummying down your resume.  You don’t want your cover letter to state you are seeking a management position, when the job you have applied for is NOT in management.  This is one of the most common mistakes made by job seekers.  If an automated system is initially screening resumes and the key words are not found in your career summary – you will be screened out before an actual person even reads your resume.

Often “Overqualified” Is Another Word For “Too Expensive”
When an employer sees twenty years of experience and they only require three, they are convinced that you are out of their price range.  All employers have hiring budgets, and it is rare when they can go above the salary ranges set by management.  If you are willing to take a cut in compensation, it is up to you to explain this to the employer, before you are screened out.

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What Clients Say About Patrice & Associates

  • Ms. Ross was great!

    First and foremost, I want to thank Carla Ross for helping me get the opportunity I was looking for. I was looking for a good job back in my home town and she definitely delivered. She was so nice and professional, and she made the process so fast and easy. I also love the fact she checked on me after I got hired.   Shareef Phillips Ms. Ross was great!
  • James was a true professional! 

    From to the first time we spoke, he knew the right questions to ask to help me refine my presentation.  He kept me informed every step of the way of my interview process and followed up after my employment started.  He deserves all my thanks.
    Jeremy Slade
    James was a true professional!
  • Working with David at Patrice and Associates was an excellent experience!

    David is super professional and really took a lot of time to talk with me, get to know what my needs are and match me with the best possible position. I always received speedy replies to any questions I had, and he was always accessible and accommodating to me throughout the process. I highly recommend working with this group for your needs, and would happily work with them in the future should I ever look for new opportunities. Thank you, Johnny Morgan Working with David at Patrice and Associates was an excellent experience!
  • Margo was fantastic!

    Throughout the process, she was able to get and keep me prepared and ready to answer any questions or curveballs that came my way.  I was better prepared during this interview process than I have ever been before.  A normally stressful process was made less so thanks to Margo.  She was the one that initially brought the opportunity to my attention and was there every step of the way to ensure I was successful.
    Thank you,
    Adam Saia
    Margo was fantastic!
  • I would like to say thank you for this great opportunity and helping me with the next mile stone on my career path.

    At first when I received the email I was uncertain that this would work. Upon talking to Michelle I discovered that not only was she really nice, but also quite resourceful. I started the process on a Tuesday and literally one week later I was offered a job on the spot, thanks to all of her assistance. We talked and I was able to be open with her.  She was able to put me in the mindset of my now area manager to go over what to say and do, and what to leave out during the interview. We went over resumes and she showed me how to improve mine so that I stood out. Overall if I ever had to do this again I would gladly work with Michelle but I’m secure in my career path.  Thanks again to Patrice and Associates, and Michelle! Keyona Ellis