How to answer the overqualified question in flexible jobs?


When looking for a flexible job, how might you answer the dreaded ‘overqualified’ question & put your best foot forward?

 Good afternoon! Justin O’Keeffe from Talent Force Recruitment, continuing our mission to help parents returning to work after a career break or simply after more family-friendly or flexible roles. Today we’re going to deal with a really itching question, one that we hear repeatedly being brought up in interview stages and one we hear people often kind of struggle with. And the question is are you overqualified? Or simply it’s often a recruitment or a company stating we believe this candidate are overqualified for the role.

So, this is a really interesting question and as we know, people who are returning to work or are simply after more flexible or family-friendly work arrangements are simply trying to juggle the holy trinity we would say of career progression, salary and flexibility and getting those three synchronized and working together and work for them short to medium term, even long term is a very difficult question. And really what the employer or the agencies are asking when they ask this question is have you organized your priorities around these 3, this holy trinity as we would say.

So, really, if you put yourself in the employer’s position, if you were to hire somebody who’s overqualified, what might your concerns be? What would you be worried about if you were to hire someone you perceive as overqualified. And you’re often asking will the person be bored? Is my job stimulating enough? Is this a backwards career step? Will they be looking to leave in 6 months or 12 months or 18 months when somebody really gets into a job? So there’s always these sorts of questions that accompany an employer, even an agent is asking.
And I remind, basically the candidates that we speak to, especially the candidates who in the end do extremely well, that often candidates, companies and agencies don’t often understand is that allow the people, people like us that are deliberately targeting jobs at a certain level, it’s a deliberate decision. And it’s a positive career step. So, how do you respond to this? Very, very hard, very challenging. I’m going to talk you through the best response, the one that we’ve seen candidates use most effectively. This is courtesy of an American website called I Relaunch, very similar to what we do. I suppose the response, everybody’s response, it needs to be a personal response and it needs to be very measured.

But there’s 3 points that we would suggest. So, when you answer this question, the first one is to articulate that your role as a professional and the reason you’re taking the job is to deliver excellent results, to deliver good outcomes for the employer whilst at the same time balancing external, life, non-work commitments. So what you’re saying in that first sentence is I’m a committed professional, and at the same time I’m seeking to balance career progression, salary and flexibility.

The second thing is to say that yes, you could be perceived perhaps as overqualified but that you’re deliberately seeking out this level of seniority, this level of role at this point in your life, at this point in your career cycle, in your career trajectory and this is the sort of role that you’re looking for. And the third thing to say is that as a professional that you feel that you’re confident that you can achieve good results and good outcomes and have an impact for the employer at this seniority level.

So, the question that you’re overqualified, do you have too much experience for the role is an extremely common one especially when it comes to flexible roles. It’s one worth thinking about and weighing the three main issues: career progression, the salary and flexibility and demonstrating to the employer that this is something you deliberately thought through and are ready to engage in.
So, we hope this helps. Any questions shoot me an email:; or simply give us a call 109-08-1514, we’re looking forward to talking to you and working with you in the future. Take care, bye-bye.



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