an interviewer has ever said to you, "I’m afraid you’d be
bored," it doesn’t take a genius to know what they’re
getting at. They obviously think you’re overqualified for the
But what if you’re not? Or even if the position has less
responsibility than your last one, but it’s what you’re
looking for, how do you keep them interested?
Your first reaction will probably be to say, "No, I’m
not!" But just telling them that doesn’t change their mind.
In fact, your protests can turn them off, even strengthen their
resolve that you’re not the right person for the job.
As unwarranted or ridiculous as their concern might seem to you,
you must address it. It’s a fear the interviewer has about your
ability to do the job or your fit with the company. Denying it
won’t make the fear go away.
You must help the interviewer overcome their objection. Here are
the steps to take to help do that:
1. Acknowledge the
concern. This helps open the door for a discussion
about their misconception, wrong impression or preconceived
notion. Say something like: "I can see why you
might think that."
2. Ask questions
to understand where they’re coming from. Then ask,
"Could you tell me more about your concern?" This can
lead the way for the interviewer to tell you what they’re
thinking: that you won’t be challenged, won’t stay long or
they can’t offer you the salary you’d expect.
3. Clear it up.
Now that you know the concern, you can say something like: "I
see. I didn’t mean to give the impression that I was looking for
a managerial position again…" or "It’s true, I’ve
had more responsibility in the past, but now my goal is to find a
position where I can contribute my technical skills at a team
You can add that you plan to be a committed, long-term member of
this team. You can also address the salary issue in a general way
by saying, "I’m sure we can come to a mutual agreement on
salary if we both decide I’m the right person for the job."
But what if the interviewer doesn’t overtly state their concern?
You just know it’s going to be an issue or it has been in the
past. Whether objections are obvious, implied or sensed, exert
You can bring it up before they do—or in case they’re thinking
it and not saying anything. Try something like: "As you can
see, I have been involved in many levels of business including
management. At this point in my career, I don’t feel I need that
challenge and am seeking a position where I can use my technical
If you’re a seasoned worker or have experience at a higher level
than the types of jobs you’re interviewing for, expect to hear
or sense this concern from employers. It’s natural. Think
through in advance how you’ll react in the interview. Look for
ways to support your objective on your resume and downplay
information that makes this a bigger issue.
Since you can’t control the interviewer’s reaction, be
prepared to do the only thing you can do—influence it.
© 2001 by Andrea
Kay. All Rights Reserved. Copyrighted work used with permission.
consultant Andrea Kay is the author of:
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Andrea’s articles at www.andreakay.com.