I think you're overqualified for this job. Don't you?

  | James Innes

I think you're overqualified for this job. Don't you?

Alternative and related questions:

What would you say if I told you I thought you were overqualified for this job?

The meaning behind the question:

In asking this question, the interviewer has most likely already concluded that you are, technically, overqualified for the job. By asking this question, they’re giving you a chance to comment on the matter – to explain to them why it is that you want this job when it is seemingly ‘beneath’ you.

Being overqualified for a position is a significant hurdle as employing such an individual can – unless you can justify yourself – pose a major risk to the interviewer. Are you desperate and prepared to take any job going whether you are really interested in it or not? Are you going to be disappointed with the role and move on quickly? Are you going to cause problems in the hierarchy?

Your answer:

If you are overqualified for the position then you’re going to need to address the issue. There are a number of reasons why you would be considering a job for which you are theoretically overqualified – not least a challenging economic climate with high unemployment and a scarcity of jobs. Regardless of what your actual reasons are, you need to deliver a very convincing explanation to the interviewer if your application is to survive this question.

Naturally, if you don’t feel you’re overqualified then do query this with the interviewer. If they can tell you why they think you’re overqualified then it will help you to counter their objections. But perhaps you have simply misunderstood what the role entails and this vacancy isn’t appropriate for you?


I realise that my last position was a management role – and I certainly found that experience invaluable. However, I have concluded that what I really want to do is work directly with clients, finding solutions to their needs and subsequently delivering and implementing those solutions. I don’t see this as taking a step down the ladder; it’s purely a question of my seeking out a role to which I am best suited, which I will enjoy and to which I will consequently be able to give my all. I believe my previous management experience will undoubtedly be very useful in terms of my being better able to understand the bigger picture. However, I am definitely happier and more productive in a customer-facing role.

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