They Told Me I Was Overqualified – What Does That Mean?

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Being told you’re overqualified can mean many things.

  • It could mean, they believe the position is below you, you will be bored and you’ll leave. Hence, they don’t want to go any further.
  • It also could mean, there’s something preventing you from getting the role, but they don’t want to tell you what it is.

Here’s what I mean,

A LinkedIn connection recently told me she wanted to work for a certain organization. She interviewed but was told that she was overqualified. She asked me why the recruiter said such a thing.

After reading her message, I explained, as delicately as possible, that her English skills prevented her from landing the position.

A hiring manager told a close friend of mine that he was overqualified. My friend is a tall man with a deep voice. He’s articulate, experienced, and capable. For all of these reasons, I believe he intimidated the hiring manager.

What Can You Do?

As with all strategies you never know what will work.

Sometimes a recruiter doesn’t want to offend you, after all she may have another position that would be a good fit. So here are some options.

After you’re told you’re overqualified, respond with

Given my skill set and experience, can you recommend a position that is a good fit for me?

Alternatively, you could also try this response,

I understand, you’re in a difficult position. It’s never easy telling someone they didn’t get a job.

If you felt so inclined, I would greatly appreciate it, if you told me what I need to do to be a better fit for this type of position in the future.

You could even offer to write a LinkedIn recommendation for them if they shared that information.


Hi! I hope you enjoyed this article! If you did, I would love if you could share this with your friends/family/network. Also, comment below, I LOVE hearing from you!


Clark Finnical is the author of Job Hunting Secrets (from someone who’s been there), the first job hunting book written by a veteran job seeker.

Job hunting books were solely written by HR managers and recruiters in the past. Their books told you, ‘How to succeed in their world.’ Because “Job Hunting Secrets” is written by a former job seeker, it’s like hiring a tour guide to help you navigate the complex path ahead of you.


If we’re not connected, I’d love to connect. Here’s my profile .


Image Credit: Photo by Elisa Coluccia on Unsplash