- On August 23, 2019
I recently posted on ageism. A related phenomenon is when employers reject applicants for being “overqualified.” Studies show, when presented with two good candidates, managers often prefer the one with less experience. The Wall Street Journal explains why. Hiring managers assume the candidate with the more impressive resume won’t be as committed to the company, stay with the job, work well with others, or be as motivated to do well. Additionally, hiring managers can feel threatened. Finally, they are skeptical about candidates who say they are willing to take a pay cut and instead believe applicants “overestimate their willingness to live with the losses that come with reduced status.”
To overcome the bias against being “overqualified”:
- Applicants have to understand what managers are thinking to rebut their assumptions. Explain why this job makes sense for you. Loving the mission is a great reason. Expressly stating you want a better work-life balance? Not so much.
- After showing how you align with the mission, you need to explain how the job matches your experience. The reasons must be consistent throughout the interview. (Interviewers will compare notes!)
- Get people to vouch for you, especially those within the company.