I’ve been job searching for months and I just found out I lost a job opportunity to someone who is extremely overqualified for the role.  How do I overcome competing with overqualified candidates willing to take less responsibility? – Betsy J.

Betsy, I definitely understand your frustration. You’ve been out of work for a couple of months and you’ve been searching and searching.  Finally…a promising job lead.  Your recruiter sends you on an interview, you’ve got great rapport with the hiring manager and you’re a top choice.  You’re so close to an offer that you feel confident enough to splurge on a new pair of shoes and just as you place them neatly in your closet, you get an email from your recruiter letting you know they went in a different direction.  You probe the recruiter to find out that another recruiter’s candidate got the job, a candidate who was way overqualified for an Executive Assistant role.

Presumably, you feel demoralized.  Why are they sending overqualified resumes to the client? Why does the overqualified candidate want the job?  Are you ever going to find another job again?  No doubt your emotions are running high and you’re seeing things through the lens of rejection.

At this point all I can say is take a deep breath and stay calm.  First, you can’t change the fact that they went with someone else and don’t spend your energy trying to guess what was behind their decisions. One of the first things you learn in the business world is that people do things for their own reasons, not your own.  Second, people hire people, not resumes, so while you’re a perfectly qualified candidate and would do a fabulous job, something happened in the series of interviews.  Maybe the candidate had a personal connection to someone working in the firm or maybe the candidate and the hiring manager bonded over their love of excel spreadsheets and pivot tables.

The bottom line, you’ve got to take a lesson from actors who audition and get rejected basically for a living. When you walk out the door, it’s done, let it go.  You can wonder yourself all the way to crazy as to why you didn’t get the job but that’s not going to give you any answers. Instead, put that energy into prepping for your next interview.