Overqualified? Tackle it!

Congratulations! You are now a Masters graduate. Time to step into the job industry with the extra experience and knowledge you have acquired by doing a Masters. Hopeful that the extra time and money spent at University will yield it’s benefits, you are often told “sorry you are overqualified”.

The choice is yours. You can’t really CTRL+Z the Masters Degree, but you can choose to fight back.

Acknowledge the concern, then address it.

The key to dealing with any objection is to politely ask a clarifying question to better understand the underlying concern the hiring manager has.

  • ” I can appreciate your concern. Can you share with me what makes you feel that way?”

  • ” Oh, I’d hate to think you felt my experience would work against me. What concerns you about my qualifications being too much for the role?”

  • ” Thank you for your honesty. May I ask, are you worried that my qualifications will work against me in this job? If so, how?”

  • ” I’m so glad you shared your worries about my experience. What would it take to make you feel comfortable hiring me at my skill level?”

One thing common between all the questions above is that you are acknowledging the hiring managers concerns regarding hiring you. Remember that a hiring someone is not a small decision, especially when it comes to SMB. Each time someone is looking to hire, they are trying to get the ideal candidate. You must acknowledge and validate his feelings. Perception is reality. Right now, his reality is you aren’t ideal.

Hopefully you have determined the hiring managers real concern now. The next thing to do is to determine what it would take to change their mind. You can do this by asking them they very question. As my manager always says, “if you don’t ask, you don’t get.” Don’t get defensive at this stage. It’s easy to get carried away as someone is challenging your intellect, and career choice. Instead, you need to give the hiring manager the opportunity to process his concerns and share them openly with you.

Decoding, analysing and drawing on the information received.

You have to be situational. In this case, one size doesn’t fit all. You need to pay attention to the communication style of the hiring manager to anticipate if it will work. If the hiring manager has made up their mind on not hiring you, they might see you challenging their decision and you might be burning the bridge there for good. That is why you need to be sure if they are still open to dialogue. Their response to your question will either be honest and open up the discussion so you can try to give him information and reassurance that changes his mind.

You have nothing to lose here. You have been told you wont get the job. You can rescue this situation by being polite and positive and you might just be able to change the hiring manager’s perspective.

Score points for trying.

If you aren’t right for the position, there is a very slim chance you will get the position. That is the reality. Sometimes hiring managers are looking for people with maybe a Graduate Certificate or a Diploma because the purpose of the position may be to find a candidate who will stay for a longer term and the position may teach them whilst on the job. That said, there is always a chance to revisit an opportunity at a later stage. You may not be ideal at this stage but later on you may just be the perfect candidate.

Hiring is competitive

Hiring is simply a competition. You are competing against all the other candidates after for the same job. The best person wins. You may not be the best in current scenario but you can always improve your situation.


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About the Author

Mansoor Walli