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You're Overqualified: How to Respond

One of the most common situations in which relaunchers find themselves is having a hiring manager tell them they are overqualified for a particular position. We break down how to tactfully respond when you're on the receiving end of this comment.

What employers sometimes do not realize is that relaunchers may intentionally target a particular position, even though it may be junior to their pre-career-break position, or junior to where the returning professional might be if she or he had stayed in the workplace. It is important to stress to the employer that this seniority level was targeted for a reason.

Here's what we recommend saying:

"One of my top priorities is to deliver excellent results to my employer, while also managing the rest of my life outside of work. So while it might look to you like I am overqualified for this position, this level is exactly where I want to be in my current life stage, and I intentionally sought it out. I feel confident I can deliver excellent results to you at this level of seniority."

At our recent Return-to-Work Conference, we ended our keynote with this suggestion of what to say when described as "overqualified" in an interview. Immediately after the conference, this wording was put to the test by an attendee who was interviewing for a position at one of our sponsoring companies. When told she seemed overqualified for the job, she repeated our suggested wording almost verbatim. She said she had to say it more than once to different interviewers as she moved though the multi-day interview process.

But guess what? She got the job!

Don't hesitate to use this response the next time someone calls you overqualified.

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