Ask any executive, line manager, or business owner if they would love to have people onboard who can do not only their own job – but a whole lot more and I think 80% would answer by saying “I’ll take a dozen” or “where can I find one.” To me this is the embodiment of the definition of OVERQUALIFIED.
With this in mind, it’s astonishing that I’m approached daily by people telling me that “OVERQUALIFIED’ is the feedback they’re receiving after a job interview and when following up on a resume submitted for a job where, on the surface, they are a good fit. Then they follow it up by asking “what does Overqualified really mean?”
In reality OVERQUALIFIED is more of a code word than a factual opinion of value and worth, although in some cases it is a real concern for a decision maker.
Here are some of the code interpretations.
You may be deemed OVERQUALIFIED if your resume lists multiple alternatives in your title brand statement Ex: Program Manager / Project Manager / Business Analyst.
You may be deemed OVERQUALIFIED if your resume covers everything you’ve ever done and achieved in your career and the job you’re applying for is not as diverse. Here the employer assumes you will not be happy if hired in this role and you will leave as soon as a more challenging job comes along. The same holds true if this is how you conduct yourself in any interview.
If you are asked a question in an interview and you become the Energizer Bunny and keep on going on and on and on and on you will be called OVERQUALIFIED.
If the company feels you are a good fit for the job but you come across as someone who will not mesh into the company culture they will most likely tell you’re OVERQUALIFIED.
If during the interview you obsess over dollars and benefits, and when asked about salary you overshoot your worth and come across as “too expensive” they will most likely tell you’re OVERQUALIFIED.
If during an interview you don’t show enough interest in the job at hand and make the interviewer feel it is only a job you would settle for but not select as your first choice they will most likely tell you’re OVERQUALIFIED.
If you currently employed and say the reason you are looking for a new job is you are disgruntled and unhappy in your current job they will most likely tell you’re OVERQUALIFIED
As always I am happy to critique U.S. resumes, LinkedIn pages and job search action plans at no cost. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org