Over the course of the last few years I've applied for many jobs in Finland - thousands, in fact. I've had every kind of rejection response possible - some justified, some utterly bemusing. But there is one that I've had a fair few times that annoys me so much - supposedly being 'overqualified'. I've touched on the Finnish recruitment system in a previous blog. It's a strange system, geared pretty much at Finns who have university degrees. If you're not either or both of those things, getting a job can be ridiculously, and unnecessarily, tough!
Today I received some feedback regarding an interview I attended last week. Following the interview I had quite high hopes for the role. It went really well, I seemed to impress them, my experience matched everything they talked about, and I was ready and willing to start ASAP. But the feedback I got today consisted of - they were very impressed, you were a very strong candidate, but they feel you're overqualified.
In regards to this specific role, how it was pitched to me, the salary I was put forward at, and the fact I had the head of the business area interviewing me, I went in there thinking I would be massively under-qualified!
Now I seriously don't see how someone being supposedly 'overqualified' is even a weak point, let alone a reason for not hiring them - just the opposite, in fact! If I apply for a job, I want that job. I'm not applying for fun, and certainly not doing it for some kind of laugh, especially when I spend my own time and money attending interviews etc. I even spoke in the interview about how keen I was for the role as it was almost perfect for me. So, from a candidate perspective, that's a box ticked. I want in. I want/need the job. I've proved how I can do the job. So being 'overqualified' (in its relation to me) doesn't work as it's irrelevant.
Now from a business perspective - this is what I find the most bemusing and infuriating - A candidate comes in who can do the job. They have experience and knowledge and can bring something to the company. You know they want the job because they've told you and they're sat in front of you. SO how can 'overqualified' be used as an excuse not to hire them?!
As a business, especially a large international corporation, you should be pulling out the stops and doing anything and everything you can to find and recruit the best people. People that are willing, enthusiastic, experienced, knowledgable, and who can add value to your business, both now and in the future. So surely it's impossible to have someone that's 'overqualified' for a role. Just because someone is a very strong (possibly the strongest) candidate and is potentially very good, how/why can you turn them away?! What kind of business turns someone away because they're potentially 'too good'?!
Now if 'overqualified' is just a vague term being used because the business doesn't actually want this candidate, again, how is that helpful to anyone? It shows the business in a bad light (for not providing decent feedback and using vague and untrue terms to not pick someone), and leaves the candidate scratching their head (as well as the consultancy company I would have been working through) wondering what, if anything else, they could have done, or can do in the future to secure a role.
I'm by no means saying the job was mine, or that I was a shoe-in for it, but, personally, what am I meant to take away from their 'feedback'? That I was genuinely too good and, if so, why and how/where do I go forward? Or ignore it as it's just some kind of generic response they give to people? But then that's probably even more unhelpful as I have no idea where I went wrong or what I can do better on the next time. And that's the most annoying part - not that I didn't get the job, but that the feedback I got is the vaguest and most useless I've ever heard - and not for the first time.