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My recently graduated sibling had an interview this morning. Apparently she has been asked the titular question during the interview. She answered it like "No worries, since I will be continuing my master's program, it means I'll have more time to continue my studies without compromising work."

She has been a very hardworking student with a pretty good GPA, in addition she spent her last year doing part-time internships where she acquired the skills the company she applied offers long-term training programs for.

After the interview when she called me, I told her she should have answered it with something like, "Every job deserves to be taken very seriously. Even if you think my skills are above the requirements for this position, I think this will provide me with an opportunity to take more responsibility where I can utilize my experience."

Now, I know that a lot of the companies in my country ask questions that put the spotlight on the candidates, in order to "test" their humility (I know, pretty stupid, but humility is a part of the workplace culture and that's how it is). But I wonder if there could be a better way to answer this question again when (and if) she's called for a second interview.

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    @Upper_Case I'll stop commenting as we are making noise and not asking for clarification/improvement, but it seems to me that you have a possible answer :) please go ahead and post it. I already linked a possible dupe, which asks the same think regarding being asked that one is overqualified, and will surely serve as reference for OP. Pruning my comments shortly... – DarkCygnus Jul 9 at 18:23
  • @Joe Strazzere Turkey – erdem Jul 10 at 10:58
  • Thank you everyone for your inputs. Initially I and my sister didn't interpret it as a question of being overqualified, but rather as a method of psychologically pressuring the candidates. Excuse my English if I made any mistakes. Thank you again. – erdem Jul 10 at 11:04
  • @JoeStrazzere ah ok thanks – solarflare Jul 10 at 23:42
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No interviewer is going to mind getting an exceptionally skilled candidate per se. The real concern is that someone who is overskilled for the job might be bored, unmotivated, or suffer from low morale or company loyalty. That's the concern they're voicing when they ask a question like that, and that's the concern that you should address.

Your sibling responded with "that's okay. I want something low-key so that I can focus on getting my Masters." That's... not amazing, given that it both indicates that you're not intending to work very hard and that you'll be looking for a different position in a couple of years. Still, it is at least a valid answer to the question. Realistically, though, if you're applying for a position that's below your skill level, you should already know why you want it, you should figure that they'll ask, and hopefully you can come up with some slice of the true reason why you're interested in spite of that. Perhaps suggest that you hope or intend your position in the company will grow to match your skillset once you've had some time to learn their product, and they've had time to come to know you?

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    " Perhaps suggest that you hope or intend your position in the company will grow to match your skillset once you've had some time to learn their product, and they've had time to come to know you?" - Good suggestion. – DarkCygnus Jul 9 at 18:30
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    Agreed. It's always reasonable to show that you're looking for a "long term partner" in your career, not just a job. Bonus points if you can lead this to a discussion about how company culture supports such long term relationships by promoting from within. – dwizum Jul 9 at 18:37
  • Also agreed. Additionally, a candidate can talk about early networking, building experience in the industry, identifying areas of focus for the Master's study so that she can apply her developing skills in that same company. – Upper_Case-Stop Harming Monica Jul 9 at 18:41
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There's no individual correct answer of how to answer it.

You can answer it in a way suggesting that even though your skills qualify you for a higher level job- you'd find the job you're applying to to be more enjoyable and thus a better fit for you since you'd be more likely to stay at that job/company for longer. Or you can suggest that your skills would be beneficial for both the position and for future positions when moving up and that the job you're applying to is just a stepping stone for the future career goals you have.

Your sister made a mistake brushing off the job as just a temporary "easy" position to utilize while continuing on your masters degree. If I was a hiring manager- I would rather hire someone who actually wants the position and who would be willing to stay at the position for longer than the length of a degree. While some companies, typically those who hire high-school aged employees might not care about longevity- the fact they asked the question can imply that they aren't just looking for someone who desires a temp job and rather they're looking for a true committed employee.

  • Can the person who left a downvote explain why? Thanks – chevybow Jul 10 at 14:29

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