Hiring Red Flags: Overqualified Applicants

Hiring Red Flags: Overqualified Applicants

An older businessman talking on the phone.


In this tough economy, many job seekers are just anxious for a job – any job, even if it’s below their skill level. While hiring someone with an advanced skill set may seem like a boon for a company, this great fortune may only be short-lived.

The red flag for a hiring manager is not whether this person will succeed in a given position. Rather, their concern is how long this applicant will stay in this position. It costs companies time, money and resources to hire and train employees. Even if this person is overqualified, there is still a cost to bringing in a new worker and training them to work effectively within the company.

There are also other concerns for hiring managers, such as if the salary range of the job is in the ballpark of the applicant’s expectations; if the overqualified applicant will get bored quickly and leave; or, if the job seeker will get frustrated if there aren’t any opportunities to grow with the company in the short-term.

The bottom line is that hiring managers want to make sure you’re not just desperate for a job and will jump to a better position the minute you get a chance.


If you are applying to a position for which you are overqualified but are really interested in the job long-term, you should reference that in your cover letter. Let the hiring manager know why you want the position, how you can help in the short- and long-term, and how this position fits with your overall career goals.