Q&A: Should I Dumb It Down?

degreesspec-edQ:   (I have) two degrees. I am often told that I am ‘overqualified’. Should I dumb myself down in an interview?

A:  No indeed Christy!  I would never recommend dumbing yourself down to land a job.  The problem comes in accepting the notion that “overqualified” somehow means “disqualified.”  I reject that.

If you get to the interview phase of the candidate selection process, someone was interested enough in what you presented on your application/resume to talk to you further.  Use this to your advantage.  If this is a job you are sincerely interested in having, I suggest you research the company, and study the job posting/description.  Ask questions of the interviewer to understand their concerns with hiring an experienced person for the job.  Come up with some “undeniable facts”  you can use to dispel the notion that you should be disqualified because of your experience.

For example:  “If you don’t mind my asking, why do you feel that this job would be better suited for someone of lesser experience? According to your post, you are looking for someone to ____.  I have had direct experience with this.  I assure you that you could do nothing but benefit from what I have to offer.”

Be careful, however, not to come across as arrogant in your rebuttal.  Your mission is to assure the interviewer that you considered the requirements and functions of the job before applying and that you are aware of what the job has to offer and not the least bit concerned about a difference in title or pay.

For more suggestions on how to overcome the “overqualified” label in an interview, see:

Job Interview Question: Are You Overqualified for This Job?” by Allison Doyle
What to Do When You’re Labeled ‘Overqualified’” by Rachel Zupek
How to Apply For A Job You’re Overqualified For” by Megan Halpern

Hope it works out!


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