Friday, April 20, 2018
Business

Overqualified? Don't sell yourself short

Especially in times of high unemployment and financial distress, many candidates will apply for jobs for which they are, by conventional standards, overqualified. Does being overqualified mean you'll be disqualified if you're lucky enough to face an interviewer? Not if you handle the interview wisely.

First, calm yourself with the thought that it's normal for candidates who are something more or less than a 100 percent match to be considered as finalists. "You never find the perfect candidate," says Paul Falcone, an HR executive and author of 96 Great Interview Questions to Ask Before You Hire. "Everyone's too heavy or too light in qualifications."

If you're lucky, you may even find that your prospective employer is pleased that your wealth of skills and experience exceeds the position at hand. "Sometimes my clients like to hire an overqualified candidate," says Greg Gary, managing director of Technisource, an IT recruiter. "The theory is that a great manager surrounds himself with people who know what he doesn't know."

Highlight the depth of experience you may have glossed over in your resume. "You're not going to sell yourself if you're misrepresenting yourself," says Sylvia Lafair, a consultant and author of Don't Bring It to Work: Breaking the Family Patterns that Limit Success.

Indeed, "it's better for the candidate to take the objection of overqualification and hold it up under the light from the beginning of the interview," says Falcone. In that spirit, take a look at some interview questions the overqualified candidate is likely to encounter and suggestions for how you can respond effectively.

What will motivate you in a job that won't make use of many of your qualifications?

The first thing an HR or hiring manager has to worry about is that the open position won't stimulate you enough to keep you motivated. Since you can't successfully argue that the job requirements will offer a healthy stretch of your capabilities, try a different approach. "You can never be overqualified in your enthusiasm, your thirst for learning and desire to mentor," says Lafair. "You're selling you, not your skills."

Given our company's sluggish near-term outlook, you can't expect a promotion anytime soon. Is that okay with you? Why is it okay?

Clearly you don't want to say, "It's okay. I'm happy to languish in a job that rarely challenges me, for however long." Better to say: "I'm excited to learn as much as possible about your organization while I do my job every day. I'm confident that after the economy turns around, your company will offer further opportunities for me."

Frankly, I'm concerned with this organization's ability to keep you here. Aren't you going to get bored or frustrated?

Interviewers' next concern about overqualified candidates is that they'll leave for greener pastures at the economy's first uptick. "The hiring manager has to recognize that if the hire is overqualified, [he] will continue to look," says Gary. Counter this fear by offering examples of how you found opportunities for professional growth in previous positions you held for considerable periods.

Why should I believe that you're going to stay with our company?

Savvy interviewers are likely to challenge you on your contention that you'll stick with the company even if you're "underemployed" for an extended time. The trick, again, is to demonstrate you have a professional work history of sticking with it. "If your resume is tenured rather than choppy, point this out to the interviewer," says Gary.

Starting out at the level of this position, what future do you see for yourself with our company?

When you talk about the future, keep talking about yourself and your prospective employer as business partners. "Emphasize that you are excited about the company and see good opportunities that can keep you there for a long time," says Rodney Capron, CEO of Pongo Resume. The trick here is convince the interviewer that you're looking for steady advancement in the long run, not a rapid series of promotions.

What would you tell an employer in five years about why you took this job? How would you justify it?

This is a tough interview question, because you've got to portray yourself as ambitious and yet realistic about prospects. Work to persuade the interviewer that you've got a talent for making the most of any professional opportunity, and that you're confident that after five years you will have notched substantial achievements with the company.

Comments
Some people are paying for cuddles. And it’s not what you might think.

Some people are paying for cuddles. And it’s not what you might think.

When Samantha Hess’s marriage ended five years ago, she felt she was lacking a basic human need: Physical touch. As a woman in her late 20s living in Portland, Oregon, she found plenty of men interested in dating, but sexual contact was not what she ...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Judge: Foreclosure defense lawyer Mark Stopa violated numerous rules of conduct

Judge: Foreclosure defense lawyer Mark Stopa violated numerous rules of conduct

Tampa Bay foreclosure defense lawyer Mark Stopa has violated numerous rules of professional conduct and caused two clients to nearly lose their homes because he failed to tell them about settlement offers from their banks. Those were among the prelim...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Goodwill to open second store in greater Brandon

Goodwill to open second store in greater Brandon

Times staffThe greater Brandon area will celebrate the grand opening of its second Goodwill store beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday (April 28) at 1407 U.S. 301. The new store will add another 12,000 square feet to the complex, which includes a 200,000-...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/21/18
Regulators allow major solar company to lease home equipment

Regulators allow major solar company to lease home equipment

State regulators Friday determined that one of the country’s largest residential solar companies, San Francisco-based Sunrun, is allowed to lease solar energy equipment for homes in Florida. The decision, solar energy advocates say, could open the do...
Published: 04/20/18
Florida unemployment at 3.9 percent for sixth straight month

Florida unemployment at 3.9 percent for sixth straight month

For the sixth month running, Florida’s unemployment rate held at a nearly 11-year low of 3.9 percent in March as steady job gains continued. While many factors kept Florida’s economy chugging along, three industries stand out for leading year-over-ye...
Published: 04/20/18
Owners say new house is a disaster; developer accuses them of ‘online terrorism’

Owners say new house is a disaster; developer accuses them of ‘online terrorism’

ST. PETERSBURG --- Stretched across the front of Tim and Hyun Kims’ two-year-old house is a big banner with the name of a developer and the words: "I have to fix my new house."Some of what needs fixing is instantly apparent. The front steps are too ...
Published: 04/20/18
Florida hits a milestone: More than 100,000 people are registered to use medical marijuana here

Florida hits a milestone: More than 100,000 people are registered to use medical marijuana here

Florida has hit a milestone of sorts as it slowly moves toward wider availability of medical marijuana.The number of patients in the state who are registered to use the substance has surpassed 100,000 for the first time, according to Florida Departme...
Published: 04/20/18
Q&A: Walmart leader chats about Florida stores, and the chain’s latest retail strategy

Q&A: Walmart leader chats about Florida stores, and the chain’s latest retail strategy

The Tampa Bay Times recently sat down with Walmart director of corporate communications Phillip Keene to chat about the retail giant’s latest retail strategies and how the company is winning over customers in a competitive market.Already, two of the ...
Published: 04/20/18
SunTrust warns 1.5 million clients of potential data breach

SunTrust warns 1.5 million clients of potential data breach

Associated PressNEW YORK — SunTrust Banks Inc. says accounts for 1.5 million clients could be compromised following a potential data breach. The Atlanta bank says that it became aware of the potential theft by a former employee and that the investiga...
Published: 04/20/18
Spring break, hurricane relief boosted Tampa Bay hotels in March

Spring break, hurricane relief boosted Tampa Bay hotels in March

The Tampa Bay area’s hotel occupancy rate rose to 87.5 percent in March, the highest level in three years. The rise was fueled by spring break vacationers as well as insurance adjusters and hurricane cleanup crews flooding the state to restore it aft...
Published: 04/20/18