When a hiring manager asks probing questions to determine your eligibility for a specific position, you might hear “Are not you overqualified for this position” or “why are you applying for a position that is beneath your qualifications”
While it may at first seem like the interviewer is trying to talk you out of applying for the job, what they’re really asking is why you are seeking a particular position when you seem to have the qualifications necessary to obtain a more desirable position. They may be wondering if you have embellished your resume or if there is some type of professional issue that is keeping you from finding a job more equal to your qualifications.
Points to Emphasize
When answering the question, talk about your most pertinent skills, traits and experiences that qualify you for the position.
- Talk about how your previous experience has prepared you to handle situations that you will likely face if hired.
- Relay the personality traits you exhibit that make you a good fit.
- Emphasize the skills you have developed that will help you handle the various responsibilities of the job.
- Mention why you think you are the best candidate for the job.
Answer the question in a positive way and assure the interviewer that while you are perfectly qualified for the position, you are not necessarily over-qualified.
Mistakes You Should Avoid
It is easy to answer an interview question about over qualification incorrectly if you are not prepared. To make sure you come out on top, avoid falling for these common tricks, traps and mistakes.
- Do not answer the question by bragging about how you could easily get a higher-paying job if you wanted.
- Do not make the mistake of playing down your accomplishments in response to the question.
- Be careful not to get nervous or edgy when asked if you are over-qualified.
- Don’t breeze over the question or your answer in an effort to get the interviewer to quickly move on to the next question.
Hiring managers value honesty and confidence, so be sure to avoid being evasive or timid in your responses.
A great answer to the tough over-qualification question might go something like this:
This opportunity is very attractive to me, and although some might look at my past experience and think I am over-qualified, I think I am perfectly qualified. You can rest assured that I will dedicate the same amount of effort to this position as I would dedicate to any higher-ranking position.
Remember, it is your interviewer’s job to find out as much about you as possible, and this probing question is just one way of learning why you are a good candidate for the job.