The Great ‘Over Qualification’ Debate


You have a résumé that is a mile long. Surly you are the perfect hire for the job, right? Wrong! And, with scores of individuals chomping at the bit for jobs, is there such a thing as being over qualified? According to some, the answer is yes.

What Some Employers May Think

No one knows for certain if the chips are stacked in their favor, when it comes to sealing the deal with a prospective employer. There are a lot of points to take into consideration when it comes to the hiring process, one for example, is the issue of being over qualified.

According to an article published by AOL Jobs, being over qualified may mean several things on the employers end. But remember, the term definitely is not one size fits all.

Why are over qualified candidates never hired? Employers may feel that over qualified candidates will use the designated position as a stepping-stone, then exit their company once the candidate finds an organization that pays what the candidate feels that he/she is worth. While this may be true for some candidates, it is not necessarily the case for all. Many just want to establish themselves with a thriving company and continue to grow within their position regardless of salary.

Some say an impression of you is formed within the first few minutes of meeting somebody new. To put it lightly, the employer may not like you on a personal level, but just can’t bring himself or herself to tell you. In other words, you may have been found to be particularly off-putting for whatever reason. Saying you are over qualified is a better way of saving face, rather than really expressing what truly has taken place. Overall, both prospective employer and prospective employee share one common goal, to be successful and benefit the most important aspect, the company.

Another reason an employer may label you ‘over qualified’ is because the company may want to pay even less than the figure that was thrown out on the table. Think about it, it’s much easier to hire someone with less qualifications who is just as eager to get the job done, for less money as opposed to employing someone who is over qualified for more money.

Pleased to Meet you

Several employers already know who they have in mind for the job, despite going through the motions. In essence, this may mean that you are interviewing for a job that you have little or no chance of getting. So, why were you called in to interview for the position? The long and short is that they have to. From a legal standpoint, many hiring managers are required to post jobs and subsequently interview for them, in order to cover all bases on their end.

According to an article published by AOL Jobs, being over qualified may mean several things on the employers end.

Whether true or not, some employers say that over selling can lead to giving the impression of being over qualified. The perspective employee may constantly compare their old role with a company to the potentially new one during their interview. Simply put, the hiring manager may interpret this as meaning that you are not willing to learn new things or that you will not adapt well to a new, much less, ever-changing work environment.

It’s been said, too, that employers think those who they feel are over qualified may get bored with their job. This may be the exception rather than the norm, because every employee is different in terms of personality type. Be sure to plainly state that you are willing to fulfill all the duties that are assigned to you and you are perfectly capable of adjusting to the needs, wants and specifications of the organization.

Looking and Acting the Part

So, what do you do if after getting the business cards of everyone who interviewed you and have either sent an email to say thanks and/or a hand-written card and you still have not heard anything?

If you feel that you sincerely did your best during an interview and still were not offered a position, it may be plausible to ask for constructive criticism from the interviewer in order to incorporate the feedback during your next interview.

The crux of the matter is that in the world of interviewing it’s anybody’s guess; but, one thing’s for sure…only time will tell. And, there definitely is a pecking order regarding the hiring process, which must be followed.

Can one really be over qualified? This is a question that begs an answer. What do you think?

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-Kimberly Williams

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Shelly says:

    “Over Qualified?” Is there really such a thing in this day and time? It seems as if a company would want to hire a person with a lot of credentials. That person could clearly be an asset to the company. They bring a wealth of knowledge and experience. Hiring managers, don’t sleep on the experienced. You might be passing up the best thing that could happen in your company!


  2. Kay says:

    Nice article, Kimberly. I actually was surprised that an article had been written about this topic because it is both timely and informative. You touched on many relevant points such as the interview process being a two-way street. Another key aspect of your article is the mention of employers already having in mind who they want to hire. Can you say ‘unfair?’ I actually have several friends who have spoken about the possibility of this, now I know it’s true.


  3. #1 Blogger says:

    Kimberly, your blog is very interesting. Please check out mine and let me know what you think. Thanks!


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