Are You “Over-qualified”? Or Are You Just Too Old?


Often, “over-qualified” is code for something else.

“You’ve got very impressive credentials, and your experience is wide-ranging, but…” the hiring manager says: “We really think you’re overqualified.”

If you hear the words “over-qualified”, your job is to figure out what that something else is…, and overcome it just like you would any other objection.

Being old, or seeming old, has less to do with your physical age than it does with your attitude, outlook, and ability to articulate and add value. If you were invited to the initial interview, apparently you had all the skills to meet their job specifications, so what happened?

If you’ve gotten the “we love you, but you’re over-qualified” could it mean you are “too old”, “you wouldn’t fit in”, “you’re too expensive”, or “I know you’re going to leave us when that better opportunity comes along”?

While many people may not be candid about the real reasons they don’t want to hire you, you may be able to do some savvy detective work.

ASK!  “Is the reason you’re saying that I’m over-qualified because you think you can’t afford me?”  You could respond, “let’s calculate what it costs each week you DON’T hire me.”  Use your numbers and let’s write it down.  (This is the basis of a cost vs. benefit approach.)

 Approach every interview with the answer to the question: 

“Why should I hire YOU?”

If you’re older, specifically you should be prepared to present: 

  1. How does your potential contribution/value compare to a 25 year old?  How about two (2) 25 year olds?
  2. Name three (3) specific benefits you can bring to the target employer
  3. Name three (3) specific reasons why you are worth the money and benefits the target employer will pay you.

Bottom line, older workers must show they’re with it and worth it.  Those who can articulate and calculate their value have a better shot of landing a great job.

Aim to solve bigger problems!Make sure you stack the odds are in your favor by figuring out what you need to do to connect with the hiring manager, and show them you’re still young in terms of attitude.

Or, if you’re too old, just disregard this.

 

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Tagged With: Executive Coaching

Mark Gonska

Mark Gonska is Executive Vice President and leads the Outplacement Practice for Dise & Company. He helps employers avoid the second most costly mistake they can ever make: retaining employees they should release. Also known as America’s Career Coach, Mark has assisted over 8,000 people moving forward in their careers.