Using a Bazooka to Kill a Frog – Overqualified Candidates


Candidates who are overqualified for roles often feel they are absolute certainties to get jobs. “I can do all they want plus so much more”

It’s that plus so much more piece that scares off both recruiters and employers.

If ACME Limited want a full time Java developer, they want someone who can cut quality code in Java. The ability to be able to conduct analysis or contribute at the architectural level – that’s a genuine bonus – but the ability to project manage, architect or manage the team – they’re not bonuses. They’re just distractions that will almost certainly step on the toes of ACME’s Project Manager, Architect and Development Manager. It’s also something that’s unlikely to be well recieved by the other Java developers in the team.

And often “overqualified” candidates over estimate their technical skills. Yes they were a gun Java Developer back in the day, but they haven’t been in a 100% coding role for many a year and their skills will have eroded and the technology has evolved.

Overqualified candidates are also seen as a flight risk. Are they simply using this role as a stop gap to keep the money rolling in while they look for that bigger and better position to come along?

Hence employers don’t want to hire a bazooka to kill the frog. Too often it creates more headaches than it solves. (And I do love the Bazooka-Frog paradigm)

So if you are looking to take a step back into a more junior role, these are the objections you’re likely to be faced with. It’s important that you are able to allay these concerns if they are raised (and even if they aren’t raised!).

And don’t fall into the trap of saying “I want to step back into a more cruisey role” or something similar. People will think you’re planning to put your feet in the desk and take long lunches.