Why an employer won’t hire an overqualified candidate

Being overqualified sounds like a great position to be in, but you may be surprised to know that employers sometimes won’t consider a candidate who has more experience and qualifications than necessary.

Applying for a role that you can easily do and being declined can be very frustrating, and could leave you scratching your head. Why wouldn’t an employer want to hire you if the job would be a walk in the park? You would require little training and could quickly integrate into the role and do a fantastic job, but there are lots of other things to consider.

Here are 5 reasons why an employer might not hire you if they can see from your CV that you’re overqualified:

1. You’ve applied by mistake 

The employer might think that you’ve made a mistake and either applied incorrectly or have misunderstood the job description. They wouldn’t want to hire someone who is going to expect more responsibility than what’s on offer, or someone who might be looking for a foot-in-the-door and a fast promotion. They need someone to do the job!

2. They can’t pay you enough 

When an employer reads your CV they could easily assume that the salary on offer is not going to be enough. With more qualifications and experience than those required by the job,  they will wonder why you are not applying for a higher position with more pay.

3. You are more qualified than the manager 

A hiring manager reading a CV with the same or more qualifications than themselves could feel threatened and confused as to why you’d apply for a role underneath them. You could be difficult to manage and could offer more to the role than what’s needed. Believe it or not, some managers aren’t looking for added value – they just want someone who can get on with the job. Nobody likes a know-it-all, and if you’re going to be constantly challenging the manager’s methods, the employer may worry that you could be more trouble than you’re worth.

4. You’ll get bored 

Employers will worry that if the job’s too easy for you, you’ll be bored at work and therefore ineffective.

An employer always want to hire someone that will find a job rewarding and challenging, and will expect an employee to be dedicated to the role and remain committed with the company. Someone who is overqualified could get bored very easily, and may be constantly pushing for promotion or may even leave.

An employer is looking for someone who can fill the gap in their workforce and perform the tasks asked of them, even if those tasks are painfully simple for someone with your qualifications. Boredom will set in very quickly!

5. You won’t stick around 

When accepting lower pay than what you’re qualified for and with little challenges ahead, it would be easy to assume you are not going to stick around for very long. Are you looking for a job just for a few months whilst you seek a higher position? The chances are very likely, and with the prospects of training a new employee for them to leave shortly after, you are clearly not an attractive candidate. They’ll also consider the cost of recruiting and the fact that they’ll have to fork out again if you go.

How to abate a prospective employer’s worries

If you do have a legitimate and honest reason when applying for a job you are overqualified for, then you should consider explaining this on your cover letter. This will help to alleviate any concerns the manager may have about your reasons, and leave them with a good understanding of your current position.

It could be that a change in circumstance means you need to look for something with less hours and responsibility. Family reasons, personal health issues, or anything else that has forced your hand are all honest reasons as to why you need to take on a role lower than your skill set. Use your cover letter to directly address your situation and put the employer’s mind at ease before they get to your CV.

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