What Exactly Does It Mean to be Overqualified?

What Exactly Does It Mean to be Overqualified?

Out of all of the reasons not to get hired, one of the most frustrating has got to be when you’re told that you’re overqualified. While on one hand it’s nice to know that you have plenty of skills, it’s disappointing not to get a job you feel you’d be perfect for.

So, what’s going on in employers’ heads when they talk about a candidate being overqualified? Here’s a few reasons.

1. The employer is worried that they might not be able to pay you what you’re worth. Before an interview even happens, employers have a rough idea of what to pay a candidate, but if you come to an interview bearing additional qualifications and skills, the employer may perceive that you require a higher salary.
2. The employer is concerned that you might not stay with the company for long. Why? Because someone with an in-demand skill set such as yours might be snapped up by another company who’s offering more money or better benefits.
3. The employer is worried that you might find certain tasks to be “beneath” you and refuse to do them – regardless of whether or not you consider yourself a team player and have a history of pitching in wherever you’re needed.
4. The employer is concerned you’ll be bored in the job, or get bored quickly after being hired.
5. The employer has reservations about being a younger person and having to manage an older person. This reason is why people over the age of 35 are more often told they’re overqualified than younger people.
6. The hiring manager may be concerned that you’ll pose a threat to management competition-wise. Particularly among the less secure and self-confident, a highly-qualified candidate can sometime be off-putting.


In addition, there might be other reasons, but as an interviewee, you won’t be privy to the information. The truth is, if you’re told you’re overqualified and denied the job because of it, chances are, you’ve applied for the wrong job. Remember: you spend a lot of your life at work. Don’t compromise too heavily.

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