Overcoming the “Overqualified” Stigma | Articles & Tips | WNYJobs.com | Buffalo

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 Overcoming the “Overqualified” Stigma

By Joe Stein

The stigma can lead to a helpless feeling from a job seeker. What I am referring to is the thought that you are (perhaps) overqualified in the eyes of the Hiring Manager for the position that you want. 
 
It is easy to think that there is nothing that you can do to overcome this potential perception. The reality is, however, that you can overcome this obstacle and successfully land your new job.
 
There are always job seekers who find themselves in this situation. For example, there are those who have recently lost their positions with a company who, after a considerable tenure, may have to start over again with a new company. It may also just be that, due to internal promotions within a company, they only hire externally for their more entry level positions. Whatever the reason, you may find yourself wanting a job where your education, skills, and/or experience exceeds what the company is initially seeking for their open position.
 
If you are wondering what you can do to convince a Hiring Manager to consider your candidacy, I have some suggestions noted below. These are all areas for you to focus on when in your interview, in order to convince the Hiring Manager to select you for the position.
 
·         Sell How You Are a “Plug and Play” – There are lots of reasons a Hiring Manager dreads having to train a new person. It takes a lot of time and effort to conduct hands-on training with no guarantee of success.  Training can also be expensive in terms of loss of productivity.  If you are experienced, then you will most likely need less training and immediate supervision. This will free up your overworked Manager for other responsibilities.
 
·         You Can Be a Mentor for Others – If you have led others prior, or just in general have been a “go to” person for a company, you can leverage this experience.  Not only can you be counted on to get your job done well, but you may be of assistance with others.  This may serve to ease the burden of the Manager as it pertains to nurturing those less experienced.
 
·         Serve to Increase Productivity – Companies are always looking for ways to increase productivity in its organization. A person with a track record in being successful doing something can help to improve productivity. This can be done not only with his or her own actions, but may even serve as peer motivation for others.
 
·         Stress Your Loyalty – One of the most common concerns with hiring a person who is “overqualified” is that they will not stay with the company for very long. The thought being that you will become bored with the current role, or will be lured to another company that more aligns with your current level of experience. If your resume has a number of situations where you stayed an extended time period with companies, then you can help dispel this concern. Stress your overall company loyalty and how you don’t job hop.
 
·         Take Money Out of the Equation – In this area, you have a couple of paths to potentially take. You can completely take this issue off the table by openly lowering your salary expectations to a less experienced level, or you can instead stress your overall value and how you are flexible.  If you lower your compensation expectations, you may need to explain why. You could stress that you know the market and this is the rate that you will be able to obtain. The concern with just accepting less is how long you will be satisfied with this lower rate. This is probably the #1 obstacle to overcome, so you need to be prepared for this topic. 
 
·         You Can Add Depth to the Organization – This can be a very powerful selling point, but it needs to be done carefully. You can stress how, as the company grows, they will have someone in-house for possible promotion. The concern, however, is that by stressing this, you may install some doubt with the Hiring Manager whether you will stay with the organization if your timetable is not met. I would only consider going in this direction if you are sure you are interviewing with a company in a distinct growth mode.
 
 
There are a number of reasons that a company should be open to “overqualified” type of candidates. It is your job to make the Hiring Manager see the wisdom of hiring you for their open position. You can do this by stressing the value that you will bring to the company in comparison to any less qualified competition.
 
As always, best of luck in your job search!