Category Archives: Salaries

What does the dreaded ‘you’re overqualified’ really mean?

Career Moves 


You thought the interview went well.  Then you got a call from a human resources staffer.  “You’re overqualified” was the message.  Just what does overqualified mean?  After all, you weren’t overqualified before the interview.  An employer wouldn’t waste time interviewing people who were overqualified.

If you hear those dreaded words, it means you flunked the interview.  You talked your way out of a job not into one.  How?  Probably by talking too much about your total work experience rather than focusing on those experiences that apply directly to the position for which you’re interviewing.

In an effort to impress, you may have told the interviewer about tasks on your last job that aren’t part of the new position.  That waves a red flag that you may become bored, and you’re not a good fit.  Oops.  That isn’t what a prospective employer wants to hear.

How can you avoid foot-in-mouth disease?  By remembering that the key to a winning interview is the same as that of a successful sales call.  Sales are made because the product satisfies a customer’s needs.  The bells and whistles don’t matter.

A savvy salesperson finds out what their prospect needs before starting his/her presentation.  Uncover the customer’s hot buttons by asking questions and taking cues from the target’s answers.

How can you find out what an interviewer needs?  Start by asking questions instead of answering them.  As soon as you can, get the interviewer to go over the job description to pinpoint what the job entails and how it relates to other areas of the firm.  Ask questions like:  “What are the key job functions?”, “What are the top priorities?”, “What are your ninety-day, six-month and one-year expectations for the person who fills the job?”, “What traits are needed to be successful in the job?” and “Who are the key people and departments the job holder will interact with?”

These probe the interviewer in a positive, non-threatening manner and show your interest in the job, the department and the firm.  Their answers will show you how to tailor a discussion of your experience to the job’s qualifications and the interviewer’s needs.  You’ll also have a good idea of what types of questions other interviewers are apt to ask.

In addition to talking too much about experience that is meaningless to interviewers, there is another subject that often ends up tagging a job hunter as overqualified.  That subject is compensation.  All too frequently, overqualified really means: “We can’t pay you what you were making.”

Usually, job hunters that strike out on the compensation issue name their price before finding out what the company is willing to pay.

How do you work around the issue?  Three ways: 1. Do some research on the going price for the position.  There are all sorts of local, state and federal salary surveys available at the library and online; offers free and premium services. Contact professional associations for salary information, too.  Unless a firm’s salary structure is completely out of whack with the reality of the labor market, your survey results should put you in the ballpark.

Armed with this knowledge, you can respond to a question about compensation one of three ways:  1. “Some recent surveys from (insert sources) indicate pay for similar positions ranges from $X to $Y.  That’s workable for me.”

2. Taking a page from Successful Selling 101, a salesperson will ask about a customer’s budget before quoting a price.  Job hunters can apply that same technique by asking about the pay range for the position.  Just don’t be the first to bring up the compensation issue.

3. Respond with a non-specific answer like:  “Compensation isn’t what drives me.  I’m looking for a job that challenges me to do my best every day.  I’m sure your firm would fairly compensate me for the work I would do.”

Article found at

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Four Big Lies Employers Tell Job Applicants

By now, we should all know that it’s dangerous to lie on a resume. But you know what? In the job search conversation between employers and candidates, a bit of fibbing sometimes happens on the employer side, too.

Often, there’s no ill will intended. While there are a few bad apples in the bunch (as with the rest of humanity), most recruiters and HR folks are motivated by the desire to put the right people into the jobs they have to fill. The trouble is that overwork and overly large candidate pools can thwart good intentions — so those little white lies meant to spare a job seeker’s feelings end up not doing the candidate any favors.
We asked some recruiting experts to name the biggest lies recruiters tell, so you can spot the untruths and be ready to deal with them.
1. “We’ll keep you in mind for future opportunities.”
Recruiters meet a lot of people. And most of them have huge candidate databases. Often when they speak this untruth, they mean it: They are keeping your resume on file. Just know that they’re doing so in a gigantic filing cabinet, and that out of sight often means out of mind.

How to Handle: Don’t assume that “no” means “never.” Once you’ve started a conversation with a recruiter, don’t let the conversation end just because you’re not offered one job. Stay in touch via professional networking sites, and stay abreast of goings-on at the company so you can be aware of opportunities before they’re posted.
Just remember that there’s a fine line between “staying in touch” and “stalking.” So contact the recruiter only when you have a genuine reason to do so. And as with all professional contacts, don’t just look for favors to ask — also look for ways to be of service.

2. “Salary depends on experience.”
Usually, the company has a ballpark figure in mind. If a recruiter asks for your salary requirements or expectations, he’s trying to see whether you’re in that ballpark.
How to Handle: In general, it’s better to wait until a job offer is on the table before moving onto salary negotiations — but recruiters sometimes use salary requirements as a way to thin out the candidate pool.
In this case, your best defense is having done thorough research. Make sure you know what’s competitive for the position, the industry and the region, combined with what’s appropriate for someone with your background. That way, you can answer the question in terms of what your research has uncovered (not in terms of what your specific needs are), and then you can add something like, “But of course a conversation about salary makes more sense when we’re discussing a job offer.” Don’t lowball your number, but perhaps let the recruiter know that you’ll weigh nonsalary compensation (vacation days and other perks, for example) with the actual salary offer.

3. “You’ll hear from us either way.”
The truth is that you might never hear — or you might not hear when you expect to. The reasons vary, but a lack of communication after an interview can indicate indecisiveness on the part of the hiring team.
How to Handle: Tackle this lie pre-emptively. Always leave a job interview knowing when you can expect to hear from the hirers. That way, you won’t torture yourself wondering whether it’s too soon to call them back. If they say they’ll get back to you by next Friday and they don’t, send a friendly email to check in. You can even use this check-in email as a chance to continue selling yourself as a candidate. If you’ve had any further thoughts about issues raised in the interview, now is a great time to touch on them again. If they need more time, give it to them — but be firm and friendly about following up.
As for a company that never follows up with you after an interview — even to say “no thank you” — that could be a sign that something is wrong at the company. Smart employers know that treating candidates as well as customers is the right way to do business.

4. “We aren’t finished interviewing yet.”
Sometimes this is true. Sometimes this means you’re the company’s “Plan B” candidate. But this statement makes it sound as if the company has at least settled on a solid group of contenders, and that’s not always the case. Sometimes recruiters use this line as a stalling tactic when they’re still looking for someone more perfect than anyone in their current candidate pool.
How to Handle: Look at this statement as an opportunity to prove yourself. If your post-interview wait time is being extended because the hiring team is “reviewing other candidates,” ask questions like, “Do you have any specific questions or concerns about my ability to handle any aspect of the job? I’d love to address them and demonstrate that I’m the perfect candidate.”
Every interaction with a recruiter or hiring manager is an opportunity to persuade them that you’re the right person for the job. If you’re getting mixed messages, asking direct questions and staying focused will help you understand what’s really going on.

Article found at

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JobLINC’s New Web Page

The JobLINC webpage has been redesigned with more information to help you with your job search.  Topics include: Job Search Websites, Job Readiness, Career Planning and Assessment, Small Business Resources, and much more.

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Filed under All, Apprenticeships, Blogroll, Blogs, Books, Careers, Colleges, Communication, Community/Social Services, Exams & Tests, Financial Aid, Financial Literacy, Internships, Interviews, Job Fairs, Job Listings, Job Searching, JobLINC, Local Information, Memphis Public Library, Networking & Social Media, News, On the Job, Resumes, Salaries, Scholarships, Small Business, Social Media, Students, Teens, Training, Unemployment, Volunteering/Community Service, WIN Recruits - Workforce Investment Network

JobLINC Job Fair 6/30/10 @ Central Library 10-3.

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Job Security Guide

CBS’ Money Watch has created Job Security Guide with some very good pointers for your job search.  The “Package Contents” are:

The 5 New Rules for Job Security

What Not to Do: 7 Ways to Ruin Your Resume

Real-Life Resume Makeover

How to Ace the New Job Interview

Job Interview Tips

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High-Paying Blue Collar Jobs

Do you like to wear a hardhat?  This article from Yahoo!HotJobs details how much money you can make at some blue collar jobs.  Or, check out the slideshow for more details.

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Do you earn what you should?  Do you want to know more about minimum wage or income tax?  Do you want to see what the VIPs are making?  For all of that, plus overtime pay calculators, state-specific news and more, check out Paywizard

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Want more pay? Get a night job.

Check out this article from Forbes/MSN Money about the benefits of working a night shift.   It also includes the full list of jobs that have better pay at night than during the day.

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Is it Time to Move for More Money?

One’s salary can be vastly different from one region to the next.  Check out this Salary Calculator to find our what your salary would be in a different location.  Remember, the cost of living  could be higher or lower.

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Search by Salary

I’ve mentioned my favorite search engine, Indeed, before.  Now, they have added something new–you can search for jobs by salary!  It’s not perfect, but read this notice from Blog Indeed to learn more about it.

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The Answer to the Toughest Interview Question

The Brazen Careerist has all kinds of great advice on career issues.  In this post, she offers advice on how to answer the toughest interview question–”What’s your salary range?”  Anybody who is preparing for an interview must read this article!

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Get Your Raise

A while back, we directed you toward an article about how to get a raise out of your year-end evaluation.  Now The Times has a ten-step guide on how to get a raise at any time. 

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Can You Afford to Quit?

Normally, at the Job & Career Center, we are focused on helping people get jobs.  But some families might need to determine if one member can quit and they can live on one income–while the other goes back to school, tries to start a business, or takes time away from work to raise the kids.  So, those of you who are considering these options might find this tool from helpful.

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How to Get a Raise Out of Your Year-End Evaluation

The New York Times has a great article about how to turn your work evaluation into better pay.  Now that’s a Happy New Year!

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