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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  • Duke Witte was great to work with from the beginning.

    He took my resume and made it a masterpiece. He followed that up with coaching, advice, and mentoring through the entire process including following up with me well over 60 days of employment. He listened to what I was looking for and found me a wonderful fit. I have been working in hospitality on and off since 1993 and I can say without hesitation this was the best process of job acquisition I have ever had. He found me a company I can call home. I understand being skeptical but this company, and more specifically Duke delivered on his promise to me. I am grateful to have had a chance to work with such an unwavering professional. I would and will continue to recommend Patrice & Associates as a premiere recruiting company. Thank you, Thomas Showalter   Duke Witte was great to work with!
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    She worked and understood my situation, potential and needs.  She knew what I was looking for, what my options were, and she never offered fake leads or over or under-qualified positions.  Carly is a great asset to your company.  She is very polite, welcoming  and a professional individual.

    I once again thank her for her efforts and time to land me an opportunity which suits my skills and needs.   Thank you. Harshesh patel. Carly was very amazing!!!
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    I would like to give thanks to Milton Sallee, he definitely took the time make sure that I was ready for my interview. By just coaching me form start to end, and I believe the extra training he gave me was definitely the most helpful. He represents his client well.  I am grateful for everything that he has done and I can't wait till I start with with me new career. Thanks for your help, Anthony V. Branch II I am grateful for Milton's help...
  • Stacie is one of the best recruiters that I have ever worked with!

    She is very professional, resourceful, thorough, prompt, efficient, and engaged. She is full of so much passion and drive. She had my best interest at heart throughout our three month process (we were only engaged with one concept the entire time). I began the process with a wealth of knowledge and experience, but Stacie was still able to add tons of value to my profile and preparation throughout the entire process. Stacie keeps in contact with me on a regular basis, even during my training. She played an essential role in me joining a great organization. Stacie is a great asset, and I am grateful that our paths crossed. I give her a five star rating!   Sincerely, Joshua Towbridge Stacie is one of the best recruiters that I have ever worked with!
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    He was there step by step. I never felt that I was alone in this process . I received constant feedback and updates. And within a few short weeks I had offers .  Patrice and Associates were instrumental in my job transition. Thank you, Rodney Powell Jonathan Litt was amazing!