Tricky Interview Questions: Are You Overqualified?

Sometimes interviews throw a curve ball, be prepared with Visium Resources!
Overqualified Interview

Your Guide To The Tricky Questions

If you are reading this blog post, it may be fairly accurate to assume that you are in the process of preparing for an upcoming interview. In order to help with any pre-interview jitters, we’re starting a series discussing how to best answer some of the tricky questions that can come up when meeting a hiring team. To start out, one thing you may be surprised to hear from the hiring team is that you are overqualified for the job. All too often this can be code for ‘you cost too much’. Alternatively, and especially in the current economic climate, the hiring manager may be worried that you are only interested in the position as a hold over until something better may come up in the future – however, in some cases, you may truly be overqualified for the position; but you want it for you own reasons. So, how can you address this issue during your interview?

The most important thing to consider when being asked about over-qualification is why the hiring team has these concerns. Perhaps you will be taking a significant salary cut? Maybe the hiring manager thinks the job will bore you? Are they harboring a bias against you due to your age? No matter what the issue may be, the solution is simple. Prove to the hiring team that you will be the best fit for the position. To do this, point out the applicable skills you have, why you are interested in this specific position, and why the company will be better with you in the position. When you think about it this way, it is like any other interview question you may be asked. The hiring manager wants to feel better about hiring you.

To answer this question specifically, you might try: “While I may be overqualified for this position, I see that as a bonus for you. With me in the role, you’ll have someone who has extensive experience in this role and understands how to be successful. I will be ready to hit the ground running and help your organization from my first day.” This is a great way to frame your answer because it answers the three basic questions employers are looking for in an interview: Do you understand the job? Can you do the job? Do you bring value to the company? Another way to say this is: “I probably am overqualified for the job, but it looks like a perfect fit to me because of A, B, and C.” You fill in A, B, and C with your reasons why this job is a good fit for you.

Here at Visium, we worked with a gentleman who was interested in a lower level position because the job cut his commute time by almost an hour in each direction. To him, that quality of life he would gain without that commute was worth the drop in salary. So, in his interview, he pointed that out to them: “My house is paid off and I don’t want to move. I like where I live, and I want more time in my life to enjoy it. Your office is five minutes from my house, and I am extremely excited to have that extra time every day.” Once our client understood that, they were excited to offer him the job. Your reasons for interest could be anything. Maybe you really admire that company, or because you want to travel more (or less) or because you have always loved their products. Tell them why they are perfect for you and help them see that you’re a great fit for the job!


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