Being told you are overqualified during the interview usually makes you happy. You think to yourself: Years of hard work have finally paid off. However, when you hear it for the third, the forth, the fifth time you start to feel angry. Finally, you realize it doesn’t make sense. What does it really mean when you are told you are “overqualified” and how to deal with it?
The word overqualified really means you are too expensive or used to be working on high positions and have your own opinions. It can also mean not being flexible enough or not loyal enough.
The point is that people who hire new employees perceive it as another task which they want to solve as fast and as smoothly as possible. They don’t have time to deeply analyze you and look for the hidden diamant. For them, the deal breaker could simply be the fact that you are too expensive or you are not excited about everything or you speak your mind too openly. The other candidate might be a little younger, excited about every task, they ask less and it’s easy to motivate them to perform well because they take this job as a huge opportunity that they don’t want to miss. So you have to options. You can laugh about this label you were given and ignore it. Or you can accept it and start doing something about it. If you choose the second option, I recommend the following four steps.
The first step is to prepare a perfect presentation of your “diamond”. Prepare it in the same way as if you were supposed to present it in front of the audience or as a sales pitch to your client. Create and practice a well-thought and persuasive self-presentation of who you are, how you can solve things they need and how you can help the company achieve success they want. It has nothing to do with your CV and previous career.
What do I mean? Imagine your CV is a brochure with the offer of new cars from an established car make. It contains elegant sports cars as well as tractor units and buses. You want to persuade the person on the other side to buy something. If he wants to buy a bus, do not offer him a sports car. Do not sell what the brochure offers but what the client needs. And that is something that’s not written in the CV. Your CV is just a record of your past with your experience but it is not a proof that you will manage the job you apply for.
The second step is to persuade the people on the other side that the job they offer perfectly fits with your career and is your logical and systematic career step forward. It is the next move which means you will learn something new. This will assure your future employer that you are really interested and loyal. But first of all, you have to be sure about that.
The third advice is to be thankful for this experience. It is a lesson on humility.
Last but not least, do not forget this saying: “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak”