Being turned down for a position you want because they have class your as “overqualified” is extremely frustrating. This rejection can hurt but can offer a better understanding of how recruiters and HR see your application and guide you for future applications.


  1. What it can mean: They are worried you could get bored and leave quickly

If a job is an entry-level position (often meaning little or no qualifications required), then someone with a PHD and many years of experience will almost certainly be seen as overqualified. Hirers may worry that you won’t find the work very interesting or challenging and will move on quickly. Recruitment can be costly and take a lot of time so if hirers think you won’t want to stay long because of this, they won’t pick you for the role.


What to do:

Unless you are making a major career change in a completely new industry and tasks that requires a completely different skill set, listening to the recruiter or hirer may be your best bet. You should stick to applying for positions that align with your experience level, to keep you interested in your career and development.


  1. What it can mean: They can’t afford you

If you are used to a much higher wage at your level, the business may not have the budget to stretch and accommodate that, hence looking for a less experienced or entry level person.


What to do:

You really need to evaluate your finances and if a lower pay is something you could actually live on happily. You’ve worked hard to get where you are, and you should be compensated accordingly. But when applying for a role unless it’s your absolute dream job in a new direction in a new position, we wouldn’t recommend accepting a pay cut. But if you do, see if there are other benefits the company can offer to make the deal worth your while.


  1. What it can mean: They think you won’t be easy to manage

Going from a higher up position to a lower one, employers may fear that you won’t take well to being told what to do again, especially if you have been at a higher level for a long time.


What to do:

During interviews talk about times you’ve worked well in teams and have done group projects that have been a success. Showing you can work well with others and be given constructive criticism is essential to proving them wrong.