Overqualified? A Code Word With 5 Other Excuses for Not Getting the Job

When you have a job interview and told you are overqualified, it can become perplexing when your skillset is a perfect match with the job description, even down to years of experience! I have refused to accept being overqualified in its literal sense, that I have exceeded the job requirements, when I know that’s not the case.

During my years in the workforce, preparing and interviewing for opportunities to advance my career, I have uncovered five reasons I didn’t get the job. In fact, I’ve worked in some HR departments, and have gotten the “inside scoop” and the understanding of other connotations of being “overqualified.”

  1. Previous employment with a major corporation. Small lesser-known companies refuse to hire because they don’t feel they can “afford” you for the value you would bring. I was actually told that by a hiring manager.
  2. Flat-out refusal to pay you what you’re worth. A manager at another company recruited me, made an offer. I countered the offer. Although we met in the middle, the hiring manager told me: “This is what I’m offering and that’s it.”
  3. Some companies have the notion that you will have very brief employment with them. A manager once told me: “I’m fearful that you will become bored and quit.”
  4. Ageism, which can be tough to prove. On several interviews, I wasn’t given a reason. However, it was my sense that ageism came into play, which is alive and well today. I had reasons to suspect that to be the case in my specific experiences.
  5. Attitude and Chemistry. I worked for a manager who interviewed candidates and she wasn’t “feeling” them. But again, conveyed to the candidates, they were overqualified. Sometimes the chemistry is all wrong and the attitude can also be apparent at the outset.
Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

The manager interviewed one candidate and overlooked the attitude and chemistry, because the corporate office recommended them! The manager hired the individual who became the employee from @#$%! The manager terminated the employee after nine months.

Although, being overquailifed can be the excuse companies use to deny employment to candidates they choose not to hire for whatever reason. It has become cliche, overused and suspect when you know by skill, experience, education, and time in the field that you have what it takes. Being overqualified is unacceptable, therefore, NOT an excuse.



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