So you’ve applied for a job for which you’re overqualified—the position requires far less experience, or fewer skills, than you actually possess. To make things a bit more complicated, the accompanying salary and benefits may also be lower than you’re used to. How can you convince your prospective employer that you’d actually stick with the job if it was offered to you?
The interviewer will be concerned, of course, that you’ll bolt the second you find another position more suitable to your skills and background, so you need to convince him or her from the outset that you’re in it for the long haul. Make it personal: Talk about how your enthusiasm for the company’s mission will motivate you to stick around, no matter what the initial job.
Alternatively, you can focus on how the company will teach you things you don’t know, and how passionate you are about that fact. For example, if the firm specializes in e-commerce, talk about how much that particular area fascinates you, and how you’re willing to start in a position for which you’re potentially overqualified in order to learn more about it.
The interviewer will be worried you’ll be annoyed and bored by the job’s routine. This is a good juncture for telling a story about how you stick with jobs, finding ways to keep interested and engaged even if the current position isn’t exactly what you want. If you’re an older worker who’s worked at a handful of companies for many years, it shouldn’t be difficult to come up with a convincing narrative along those lines.
If the interviewer suggests it could be some time before you’re promoted to a level more befitting your skills and experience, explain that you’re more than happy to find ways to make the offered position your own, and then use that as a springboard for a sustained, strong career at the company.
In these sorts of interviews, you also need to demonstrate that you can work well with others, even if they don’t have your skill set and background; come prepared with lots of stories about how you collaborated successfully with people from all across an organization.
Whatever the interviewer’s questions, prepare to show how your qualifications will only prove a benefit to the company.