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“Overqualified” is a common excuse to not hire an older applicant

➔ Of the many hurdles facing older job seekers, hearing “You’re overqualified,” is one of the most common – and not to mention one of the most frustrating.

What’s the best response? Depending on the job, it may be obvious that the employer is correct, you are overqualified. But you certainly don’t want to diminish yourself by disagreeing with, “No. Not that much.”

Time to eliminate the objections

Looking at it from the employer’s perspective, why would they hesitate to hire somone who is overqualified? There are several reasons.

If you’re overqualified, you might be bored with the job. If you’re bored with the job, you might start looking elsewhere leaving them to fill the position again. If you’re overqualified, you may demand more money; or, you may want to things “your way” which may not be how the employer wants it done.

Let’s face it. They can make a compelling case. Then again, so can you.

Start by not ignoring the 600-pound gorilla. You’re a little older. You’ve been around. You’ve done a lot of different things. And this is a good thing.

Having done a lot of different things, you know what you’re good at. You know what you enjoy doing. And, at this stage of your career, you want to do something that you enjoy doing – even if it means taking a little less money for it; or not running the show; or moving up the ladder. (Realistically, you’re probably not going to make as much as you were making before.)

Be honest about what’s important to you. “I feel confident I can deliver excellent results to you at this level of seniority,” because it’s what you’re comfortable with.

You may be “overqualified” if you’re judged by the same criteria they use to assess a 25-year old. But that’s not you. You want to do it because that’s what you want. And having someone who enjoys their work, is a huge payback for the employer.


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