Are you “over-educated”?

Have you received feedback from your job interview that you are “over-educated”?

In recent times, this is quite an often practice that some head-hunters or managers are doing. Or let me correct myself – not managers, but some of the HR departments. I am not going to “protect” this weird behavior, but let’s try to understand this first – what can be behind this?

1. The person that is interviewing you, is just following some rules. Yes, some lists with some questions, and with some lists with some criteria strictly set by some internal policy. This is happening very often.

2. The person that is interviewing you may not understand that you are a good professional, but this impression is made by you. You should focus on really important things that are related to the offered job position and not present yourself with “everything” you think is the best. It may sound “the best” for you, but trust me, it looks “scary” for the HR person.

These two factors are one of the most repeated reasons why the initial interview ends up with feedback – “You are over-educated”.

So what to do when you are for example “Ph.D.” (or any other degree) with a lot of experience, but you are applying to a position where this is not required?

First, you must understand, that the first round of the hiring process is the initial interview with HR or with the agency looking for the best fit. It means the person that meets most of the criteria or requirements for the job position. So prepare your CV, but keep in mind, that the CV is not a document that should look like a novel. Typical “reading” of your CV is something just like “looking or scanning” for the keywords that meet the job description (requirements). The most important thing for you is to prepare your CV according to the requirements – mention just the important things that your potential employer needs to know or what they are looking for. But do not forget – never lie, always write just the truth.

The second important thing about your CV is to focus on its structure. Do not type a long story with a lot of text. Every intelligent person will respect your experience and education, do not worry, but you must understand that the person is like you – a professional doing her/his job. So the HR person wants to see a clear structured CV, where all necessary and important things can be found.

After checking your CV, very often follows the step that you should be prepared for. They will send you a questionnaire or their form of “CV”, where you will need to fill in your details from your CV. This is typically an online form directly saving your details into the database. Here again – do not write too much unnecessary text. Include everything important that they are asking for. If there is something that you do not know or you do not have this experience or knowledge – say the truth and mention in the description that this is something that challenges you and that you are willing to learn it directly in the company where you are applying. This will make a big impression when compared to someone that is presenting himself/herself as a “super-human”.

When you pass the initial round of interviews, typically the second round is direct with the manager. Here you can prepare again your CV, but with more details and you can mark with “bold” or “underline” the most important skills according to the requirements that they are looking for. You can mention to the manager also your degree from the university if you have one – but do not forget to say that you want to offer all your experience, knowledge, and skills exactly in this job position, where you are even open to educating others if necessary.

The wise manager will appreciate this. But keep calm and do not present yourself like a “hero” who would like to grow immediately. You can mention this later, what is your vision because they will typically ask you this in the next round of the interview process. But we will talk about this in our next article.

So good luck and do not give up!

~ Jozef

 

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Cite this text:
Jozef Kozár, PhD. (February 3, 2023) Are you “over-educated”?. Retrieved from https://www.jozefkozar.com/lab/2022/10/25/are-you-over-educated/.
"Are you “over-educated”?." Jozef Kozár, PhD. - February 3, 2023, https://www.jozefkozar.com/lab/2022/10/25/are-you-over-educated/
Jozef Kozár, PhD. October 25, 2022 Are you “over-educated”?., viewed February 3, 2023,<https://www.jozefkozar.com/lab/2022/10/25/are-you-over-educated/>
Jozef Kozár, PhD. - Are you “over-educated”?. [Internet]. [Accessed February 3, 2023]. Available from: https://www.jozefkozar.com/lab/2022/10/25/are-you-over-educated/
"Are you “over-educated”?." Jozef Kozár, PhD. - Accessed February 3, 2023. https://www.jozefkozar.com/lab/2022/10/25/are-you-over-educated/
"Are you “over-educated”?." Jozef Kozár, PhD. [Online]. Available: https://www.jozefkozar.com/lab/2022/10/25/are-you-over-educated/. [Accessed: February 3, 2023]

Dr. Jozef Kozár

Author, Research Scientist, Consultant.

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