You're Overqualified!

Dreaded, useless "code" words ... that are often not accurate!

Hello folks!

Most of my friends know my story. It is too boring and long to share here, but let's just pretend you know it as well. And as you know, I am in the middle of my first actual job-search of my (twenty-four year) career!

And it has not been easy. Even with the abundance of high-tech jobs around, I am still struggling. Some of this is due to my location; some due to the fact that I am not "testing" well, and some ... apparently due to being "overqualified". I've been overqualified from three separate positions as of this posting.

It makes we wonder ... am I that bad of a developer?

There are for sure some things I don't know and may never know; some things I don't yet know; and then there are the experiences I have had and the things I do know.

I've never gotten into algorithms. I've never really liked brain teasers and logic puzzles. But I have designed and lead six applications over the past 14 years. Some more successful than others that's for sure, but they are/were all real! I am able to take an idea without any form of requirements and create something from scratch. Yes, these were line of business applications, but I believe the concepts can scale. They were all either web applications themselves or used Web-services for data CRUD.

Sometimes I am asked to apply for a multiple positions at the same company through their ATS. Of course I only apply for roles that I believe I am capable of doing "on paper". And yes, "on paper", I meet most if not all the requirements and many of the advantages as well. These roles are usually in a new industry or market segment (think Fintech!). I've only worked in the positions I've worked and can't change that. Some are more senior than others. All are for experienced developers.

Three times now I've missed out on these "senior senior" roles. And this is OK. This makes some sense as these are new markets. In fact, some of these applications are orders-of-magnitude larger in scope than the applications I've built. Though I am confident I would be successful, I still need others to believe in me.

When I'm passed over, I am then invited to apply for other positions that I may be a fit for. But I have, usually at the same time as the role I missed out on, remember? So I remind them ... and in all occasions I've been told that I was "overqualified" for the other less senior role.

I would like to think that if an individual applies for a role, then they are taking an interest. Shouldn't the job-seeker have any say if they are overqualified? But what if you are actually "overqualified"? What if you still don't mind just the regular "senior/experienced" role and not the "super-senior"? Here are some reasons I can think of:

  • Introduction to new industries & market segments
  • Learning new architectures, development methodologies
  • Renewed professional growth
  • Change of pace (especially after life changes!)

What would be yours?

Of course, "overqualified" could just be some useless code words that (1) we didn't really think you would apply again after failing the first interview; (2) we can't afford you in that role; (3) we passed on you for a reason we can't admit and we wouldn't hire you anyway!

I just wish that interviewees and recruiters would just be direct and honest. We are all adults, no need to beat around the bush. Just wish me good luck in my search and let me be on my way!

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