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How to Handle Being Overqualified During a Job Interview

Here's how to handle being overqualified during a job interview.

You’re in the middle of a job interview that is going extremely well. You’re nailing every question (even the tricky ones!), and your interviewer seems to be thrilled with your answers. And then a realization begins to dawn on you: you’re overqualified for the position you’re applying for.

Don’t panic. Being overqualified (as opposed to being underqualified) does not necessarily mean that you won’t get the position. But there are ways of handling your overqualifications during the interview that won’t cause you to be dismissed as a possible job candidate.

Acknowledge it

Chances are, if it’s dawned on you that you’re overqualified for the job, it’s dawned on your potential employer, too. So there’s no need to pretend that there isn’t a pink elephant in the room. You can say something like, “I feel that, based on the duties associated with this position, I might be slightly overqualified for the job. However, I would like to discuss why I would still like to be considered.” That way, you can continue the job interview without your focus being on your qualifications—and possibly become distracted and bomb the interview.

Showcase your strengths

Your workplace skills and previous experience are always a selling point during any job interview. But when you’re overqualified, you may think that those same skills and experiences can be a detriment and may possibly count against you. Don’t. A knowledgeable employee is an asset to any organization, so resist the urge to “dumb down” your skills. What you can do instead is point out how you performed certain practices in previous positions, and how you’re excited by the potential opportunity to take your position to the next level.

Focus on the future

One of the biggest concerns a potential employer may have about hiring an overly qualified employee is that you’ll get bored quickly and quit. So address this issue during your job interview. While you may be an expert in your field, there is always something new to learn. Highlight what you want to gain out of the position, including knowledge in specific areas, how the company handles certain issues, etc. Then, tie in your experiences to show that while you may be overqualified for the role, you’re interested in investing time and energy into the position for years to come.

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