mature age interview overqualified

How To Address The "You're Overqualified For This Role" Question

2 Tips to turn your mature age and being labelled Overqualifed to your advantage in an interview

“You’re overqualified for this role!”

How many times have you heard this statement from a hiring manager?

And how many times have you gritted your teeth and forced yourself not to throttle the person?

Come on now… be honest – we all know there’s nothing worse than being told you’re overqualified


Because logic tells us someone should want a candidate that brings more, rather than less to the table

If you’re a mature age candidate, my guess is you’ve heard this “overqualified” palaver more times than you want to, but that doesn’t mean you can’t win over an interviewer

Take a few deep breaths, stop gritting your teeth and consider these tips:


Don’t get defensive when someone talks to you about being over-qualified

·       Come up with answers that reassure the interviewer that your main focus is on contributing your knowledge and experience and being active and stimulated in your later years

·       Reassure them that you are far from ready to retire, so you won’t be leaving them in the lurch


Emphasise that it is about contribution for you - about passing the knowledge on to those coming up behind you

·       Make sure they know you are there to learn, to grow, to mentor, to coach, to support and to contribute

·       Demonstrate with an example of how some of your previous experience and knowledge helped prevent other managers or colleagues from making some of the mistakes you made earlier in your career


I worked once with a mature age person who had seen a few product launch failures in his time

When our Product Manager had to launch new products, this person was able to provide insight into the pitfalls and how to avoid them

It wasn’t long before he was the go-to person for advice on successful product launches

Our experience and war stories have many lessons we can share with others

Share that perspective with your interviewer 

Highlight that you don’t see yourself as over-qualified, but as perfectly qualified with your experience to be an asset of knowledge and lessons learned from past challenges or mistakes

Employers often worry that when you have so much experience, you’re going to want more money

Reassure them that salary is not your top priority and that after years in the workforce you are looking for balance in your life or looking to still keep busy or that your children are grown and flown the nest and you want to stay active and be stimulated in your life

Steer your answers to what your experience brings to the company

Reiterate that your experience qualifies you perfectly to be a voice of reason, calm and contribution especially in situations that are challenging because you’ve learned the lessons from your own past challenges or mistakes

In the end it’s up to you to allay fears or perceptions of being overqualified by focusing on how perfectly qualified you are with your experience and providing great examples of where your experience helped in other places of employment