Has a hiring manager, HR manager or recruiter ever rejected you for a job opportunity because you're "overqualified" for it? I've spoken with numerous IT managers who've been fed this line, and it frustrates them to no end. They can understand being passed up for a job because they don't meet the qualifications for it, they've told me, but getting rejected on the basis of being overqualified mystifies them. Why wouldn't a hiring manager want a candidate who could do a job blindfolded and who would bring more knowledge and experience to the role than the average job seeker, they wonder?
In fact, hiring managers have many reasons to pass on overqualified candidates, and I detail their concerns in my article, Job Search: What to Do When You're Overqualified. The article also offers overqualified job seekers advice on addressing hiring managers' concerns about their candidacy.
One question that occurred to me while I was reporting the story on overqualified candidates was whether hiring managers and HR managers ever use "You're overqualified," as an easy letdown for candidates. After all, telling a job seeker he's overqualified could prop up the job seeker's self-esteem. It gives him some external confirmation that he's smart and competent. Plus, it sounds nicer than, "You have the personality of a gnat," which may be the real reason the candidate was rejected.
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