“You are overqualified”

Those three little words that sometimes ooze out of an interviewer’s mouth are real turnoffs to older job candidates. You hate to hear an interviewer say, “You are overqualified,” because you think the ball game is over. It isn’t. You can keep playing by immediately activating your built-in bullshit detector.

After all, if you were really overqualified, an interviewer wouldn’t have wasted her time by inviting you to interview in the first place. Chances are your interviewer has simply raised an objection to your candidacy. Your job is to calmly answer this objection in a way I’ll present in a moment.

But first, what do you think a prospective employer is thinking when he raises the “overqualified” objection? Your interviewer either thinks you’re too rich for her blood and when something better comes along you’ll quit. Or, an interviewer is prejudiced against your age, gender, or the way you part your hair.

Whatever the objection, you can handle it gracefully like my job-coaching client, Richard, did. After spending many years with the same company, the former technology manager was the victim of a downsizing. When Richard was told at an interview that he was overqualified, here’s how he responded:

“Look, I realize that I won’t be running a department as I did on my last job. But I can contribute as an analyst or business analyst. I already have my benefits package so I don’t need as large a salary. But I want to continue working for another fifteen years.”

While you have no control over a hiring manager’s bias, you do have control in your ability to assure a prospective employer that you love the job, you’re happy with the salary, and that you plan to stay there as long as the company will have you.

You need to think as salespeople do. They’re trained to handle objections to their product or service. Interviews are the selling parts of your job campaign. So you need to know how to handle objections to your candidacy in advance of interviews. You can start by reading this related article on Your Career Service.

What kind of objections have you run into during interviews? Let us know so we can provide more coaching on the topic right here on Your Career Service. Feel free to comment below.

RANDY PLACE, a career coach, is author of Your One-Minute Job Finding Coach.

CLICK HERE to order this groundbreaking book where you can learn all the important job finding techniques. Each one can be read in just a minute.
Copyright ©2016 by Ransom (Randy) Place

About the Author

RANDY PLACE IS A JOB-FINDING and executive coach, writer on career topics, broadcaster, and host of yourcareerservice.com. For twenty-three years, he helped thousands of employees who had been let go from JPMorgan Chase find jobs. And he coached executives at CBS Television, Pitney Bowes, and major outplacement firms in New York on job-finding techniques, communications skills, and selling strategies. An accomplished seminar leader and speaker, Randy has designed and presented workshops on interviewing, telephoning techniques, job-search writing, and sales training nationwide. Randy's groundbreaking nationally syndicated radio series, Your Career Service, has been heard on over two hundred radio stations across the United States. And his articles on career topics have appeared in the Wall Street Journal's National Business Employment Weekly. A former broadcast journalist in New York, he has also been a commercial spokesperson for an array of national and regional advertisers. In addition, Randy was a sales executive at NBC Radio and the New York City sales manager for syndication at Wolper Productions. He holds a Bachelor's in Sociology and Broadcasting from Syracuse University, and a Master's in Journalism from New York University.