Does being overqualified for a food & beverage position mean that you’ll be disqualified from consideration?

Not if you handle the interview right.

True, many employers are reluctant to hire overqualified candidates.  Recruiters fear that an overqualified employee will be dissatisfied, demand more money, expect fast promotion or even jump ship.

As a job seeker, you need to recognize these concerns and effectively address them if you want to get the offer.  Use these tips to handle an employer’s concern that your qualifications outstrip the available position:

Realize that nobody is a “perfect” match.  Reassure yourself with the fact that a recruiter rarely (if ever) finds a candidate who is an exact match for the position in terms of both skills and experience.  Most finalists are either too heavy or too light in some aspect of their qualifications.

Never misrepresent yourself.  Even if you’ve managed to gloss over your depth of experience in your résumé, it will come out in the interview.  So never try to sell yourself short.  If you do, you may be perceived as dishonest and therefore rejected, or you may wind up with a job in which you’re extremely frustrated by the lack of challenge.  At the end of the day, honesty is always your best policy.

Prepare answers to common interview questions.  If you’re overqualified, you will likely be asked a question similar to one of the following.  Make sure you’re prepared to respond effectively and allay a prospective employer’s concerns.

  • How will you stay motivated in a job that doesn’t make use of many of your qualifications?  If the hiring manager is worried that the available position won’t stimulate you enough, sell yourself – not your abilities.  Explain that you can never be overqualified in your enthusiasm, your desire to mentor or your quest for knowledge.
  • It’s not likely that you will be offered a promotion any time soon.  Is this okay with you?  Obviously, you don’t want to convey the impression that you’ll gladly languish in a position ad infinitum.  Instead, say something like: “I’m eager to learn as much as I can about your organization while carrying out my daily responsibilities.  While I understand that a promotion is not likely in the short-term, I’m confident that if company circumstances change, you will offer further opportunities to me.”
  • I’m concerned about your willingness to stay here long-term.  Won’t you become bored or frustrated?  If a recruiter seems concerned that you’ll leave for greener pastures, demonstrate your proven track record of loyalty.  Offer examples of how you found opportunities for growth, even in positions you held for several years.

Look harder for positions that better match your experience level.  Choose your opportunities carefully!  As a job seeker, you owe it to yourself to critically evaluate the merit of any position for which you may be overqualified.  Consider:

  • Would you truly be happy in this role for an extended period of time?
  • Is the compensation range adequate to meet your financial needs and desired standard of living?
  • Does the position fit into your long-range career development plans?

Make sure you don’t continue down the interviewing path too long – only to realize that you want a higher level job than what the employer is offering.  If you do, you may wind up burning a valuable bridge.

As national food & beverage recruiters, Kinsa works with top employers from coast to coast.  We can help you find a professional, executive or C-level food & beverage position that is ideal for your experience level and specialization:

• Executive Management

General Management

• Sales

Marketing

Operations & Plant Production Management

Research & Development

• Food Science

Quality Assurance 

Food Safety

• Human Resources

• Engineering

Maintenance

Supply Chain and Purchasing

Warehouse Management

• Finance & Accounting

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