The Over/Under-Qualified Conundrum
Two members of our group, with roughly 15 years difference in marketing experience, recently applied for and were both selected to interview for the same position at the same company. Neither got the job.
The more experienced applicant assumed that she was over-qualified, receiving word from the hiring company that they worried she’d leave once the economy turned around. You’d be “bored.” This, despite the fact that she would sincerely be content in a position where she could easily perform the expected tasks. In addition, it would lead to more work/life balance in a company she truly targeted.
The less-experienced applicant assumed he was under-qualified and that the job went to someone with far more marketing acumen. Why not, with today’s extreme supply and little demand (several hundred people had applied for this one position), would a company not want to grab someone with more experience?
This leads us back to the psychology of interviewing. Does the over-qualified candidate lay their cards on the table and explain how the additional years of experience can greatly benefit the company, regardless of whether or not it’s long- or short-term? And that despite the years behind the ‘perfect’ candidate, there is no guarantee that this specific person would stay any longer than anyone else once the job market starts to recover.
How does the under-qualified person express their eagerness and the “low cost value” that they can bring? “No boredom here! I’m just excited at the opportunity to get my foot in the door!”
So…who got the job?? Maybe the company, with all the applicants, happened upon someone with just the right amount of experience – and was just the right fit.