What happens when you’re overqualified for a job?

What happens when you’re overqualified for a job?
Photo by Sora Shimazaki on Pexels.com

We’ve all heard stories about couples that broke up because one was too good for the other. But did you know that happens in the corporate world, too?

No, we’re not talking about romance. We’re talking about experience and job applications. It turns out that being overqualified for a job doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re more appealing to a company. In fact, it can be a bit of a red flag for recruiters.

Recruiters say they have to be a little suspicious about everyone when hiring, and if you don’t seem to have a good enough reason to explain why you walked in the room, it can be a red flag. For overqualified applicants, it can be tough to explain why it’s worth taking a potential pay cut or starting in a lower position. They also point out that someone overqualified for a position may get bored and look to move on sooner than a more entry-level applicant, which isn’t ideal for the hiring company.

This can hurt people who are looking to change up their career paths. In industries where the corporate ladder is well-defined, experts say it’s a bit of a pyramid – the higher up you go, the less room there is to move laterally to different positions. So for many, stepping down a rung or two may be necessary to transition into a more enjoyable field of work.

The good news is that it isn’t always cut and dry. In some places where promotions can come quickly, it may make sense to bring in someone who is overqualified and have them quickly move their way up the ladder. And experts say that startups are particularly adept at this because they have a less defined advancement structure and usually can give people the role they want without necessarily having them take a pay cut.

So, the next time you go into an interview feeling overprepared, relax a little; it turns out that having a lot of experience isn’t always bad.