7 Not-So-Fun Reasons Overqualified Candidates Get Eaten for Breakfast (Rejected)

If you have ever been rejected for a job because you were “overqualified”, this article is for you…

The Hiring Process: 7 Not So Fun Reasons Candidates Get Ate For BreakfastRecruiters and Managers see it every day in the hiring process.  People looking for an opportunity, hoping to break into a company applying to jobs that just don’t work for them.  The job-seeker knows it’s a stretch and the hiring authority does too.  This type of situation rarely works out for anyone.

Here are 7 reasons why it is so very, very important job-seekers are applying to jobs that suit their skills and background…

  1. Fair Pay for Fair Play

Job-Seekers who are over qualified for requirements most often go into interviews thinking they deserve the top pay or more because they have all the qualifications (and sometimes plus some).  If you are in the “or more” section, your definitely overqualified.  Recruiters and hiring managers usually know what they can pay a new hire before opening a job.  If a candidate goes in automatically looking for the highest pay, they will likely be looked over for someone else who is more flexible.

  1. Getting Bored on the Job

It’s a common assumption that you will be bored if you’re used to doing higher-level work and end up doing something less interesting or complicated.  More often than not, boredom leads to frustration and frustration leads to leaving/quitting.  In the beginning, you may be more than willing to do whatever the job asks, but over time that may change.

  1. “Why are They Not Recognizing my Talents for a Promotion?”

This is another common occurrence when your overqualified for the job you’re in.  Most professionals will see openings come up and wonder why they are not being looked at or chosen, being that you may have the qualifications.  There are many reasons you may not being considered but a common one is that the hiring manager thinks you’re happy doing what you’re doing.  This is likely because that’s what they were told when interviewing you for the current role.

  1. “That task is Beneath Me”

All managers want someone who is willing to jump in and handle any task that is required of them.  However, sometimes an employee who is overqualified or their role will begin to say to themselves, “this task is really beneath me.”  This generally leads to discontent and often a restlessness within their role.  Who wants that?!

  1. Your Manager may have Less Experience than you

Yikes, this situation can be downright sticky.  It all depends on the manager’s level of security within their role.  Will you be happy taking direction from him/her?  Will you defy his/her wishes or being causing trouble on the team by talking negativity about him/her behind their back?

  1. Longevity in Your Tenure, this goes along with Boredom

A good majority of the time when someone is overqualified for their role, they will keep looking (sometimes even after just getting a new job) because deep down they know this role will not last them long.  They may have convinced the hiring manager otherwise, but in their heart of hearts they know it to be true so they continue to look, apply and interview on the side.

This brings us to our last point…

  1. You’ll Probably Leave as soon as a Better Opportunity Knocks at the Door

This is the biggest and scariest reason a hiring manager or recruiter will reject you.  If you’ve ever hired someone, you’ve probably seen it happen.  In all honesty, putting yourself in the candidate’s shoes, you would probably have taken the better opportunity too.

Often hiring managers can’t understand why someone would want to take a role that is lower than the level they are already at.  The assumption is always that your desperate (NOT a good look) and you will just take the paycheck and leave as soon as you find something else that better suits you.


The sad reality is the overqualified rejection is common, but totally avoidable if you’re smart about what you are applying to.  If you find your hearing this as a response to your applications, you’re probably applying to the wrong jobs.

There are some things you can do though.

Be honest and clear about your expectations for the role.  Recognize and address your over-qualifications in your cover letter.  Be prepared to discuss them again in the interviews.  By discussing them head-on and proactively, you can cut off any objections your recruiter or hiring manager may be developing in their mind.





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