Have you heard that word “overqualified” before?
Recently, the term overqualified has been frequently used by radio show callers and personal friends. At first echo you might take the word overqualified as a delightful compliment. Once that word rings in your ears a little more, you come to a realization. Your ego is no longer being stroked, but ostracized from what was supposed to be your future employer. Once that utterance has been delivered, you know it is time to rethink your strategy!
Being overqualified is generic and friendly way of telling the applicant, no way, am I hiring you. The reasons may differ from one person to another, but they all result in the same conclusion. Listed below are some reasons for applicants to be overqualified for a job.
- Age – The potential employee is too young or old for the scope of work/office. Of course you’ll never hear this direct answer, because age discrimination is against the law. However, I would be willing to bet on this situation arising more than you might think.
- Desperation – In a tough economy, jobs tend to be scarce in the employment market. No matter who you are, no one likes to see people begging. Whether it is for food, clothes, money, or work. Just how we don’t like the “fake” bums with signs in the street who jump into their Mercedes after a long day of earning hundreds of dollars tax free, nor does a hiring manager like seeing “please hire me right now” stamped across your forehead. Did you ever get a date with someone by acting desperate for a night on the town? I don’t think so!
- Cost – This is actually a legitimate reason to some extent. Qualified & well-educated individuals generally get paid more for their knowledge or extensive experience. However, this situation can be remedied through proper negotiation, and some flexibility on your side of the discussion to find a middle ground for compensation. The bottom line with cost of employment in today’s economy is that the employer has the upper hand due to the lack of good jobs versus the vast sea of potential employees. If you decide to pass because you think the offer will go up to meet you needs, think again. There are simply too many other qualified (many overqualified) candidates out there ready to generate some income, and take that offer to the bank.
- Inferiority – The “Grand Daddy” reason for most job seekers not getting hired in my belief. The subtle & most ridiculous reason for an employer to assume you will not be productive working as their subordinate, but this scenario is probably the most likely. Job security is a natural fear amongst hiring managers who are interviewing possible candidates. No one wants to be out shined or embarrassed in their position of power because a new employee does THEIR job better, smarter, and more efficiently than their boss. Although you would think a new employee with such omniscient could add great value to the team, the boss or hiring manager does not always perceive potential brilliance in this manner. Unfortunately many of them see this as a direct threat to their job security, and immediately slap the “overqualified” label on your resume.
Much of the discussion around the job community, and even that of our personal friends, has revolved around over qualification for employment. If you have any thoughts on these rationales, or you are in this unfortunate position yourself, feel free to comment in our post. Also, look for my next post on how to counteract these overqualified perceptions, by hiring managers.