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I am Overqualified! / I am Underqualified!

By jbarchitect ·
Okay, so which is it? :-)

I am looking for some advice on how to handle certain repetitive situations I have encountered in interviews. First, some background information...

I have 17 years experience in software development, and have been the architect both for large mission-critical software applications, and for "foundational" technology that others have used to build applications. I left the industry in January 2001 (two weeks before the dot-com bubble burst: BAD TIMING!) to help start a company that provides IT services to small businesses that cannot afford to hire a full-time IT person.

Well, the IT service company is just barely paying the bills, so I have been looking for a development job. I don't need to be the architect, or the designer, or the honcho in charge; I'd be equally as happy "just" programming! I have also tried looking for an interim job outside of the IT industry to provide a stable paycheck and some mentally restorative "breathing room."

My technology skills were cutting-edge in 2001, particularly with J2EE at the time. Since then, I've had the chance to explore and get current on several Open Source technologies such as PHP/PEAR, Postgres, SAP DB, and MySQL, but I haven't stayed up with changes and improvements to Java/J2EE, and haven't done anything with .NET technologies.

Here's the problem: in every interview I've been on, I've been told point-blank that I am either OVER-qualified, or UNDER-qualified!

It is beginning to both discourage me and to really irk me. I need some fresh, outside perspective on how to handle the situation!!

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Interview technique?

by Zazelle In reply to I am Overqualified! / I a ...

To counter the problem that some employees believe you to be underqualified you may want to rethink how you present your experience in an interview sitiuation.

Remember the purpose of your CV it to get an interview. As you managed this then your experience wasn't that far off.

The interview panel may well have a seperate scoring matrix for the actual interview itself.

If you are not giving good examples during the interview of the types of work you can perform and the technologies you are familiar with then it is unlikely that the panel will go back to your CV to check whether or not you can do something.

Hope this helps.

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Ja, Interviewing Technique

by jbarchitect In reply to Interview technique?

Zazelle wrote:

> If you are not giving good examples during the interview of the types of work
> you can perform and the technologies you are familiar with then it is unlikely
> that the panel will go back to your CV to check whether or not you can do
> something.

I absolutely agree. You have hit at least one of the "nails" precisely on the
head.

One of the problems I'm running into is that it is difficult to "sell" the
ability to learn new technologies quickly, even if you have a track record of
doing so. (I'm a product of the Naval Nuclear Power program; passing it was
akin to sipping water from a full pressure fire hydrant, fully open.)

Interviewers prefer to see hands on experience with their exact technology.
Unfortunately, there are only so many hours in a day for me to take care of
current commitments (including being a father), leaving only a small fraction of
time to read and try the newer technologies. (Of course, some, I can't try out
at all because the hardware/software costs are too high.)

Sigh.

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When you need expert advice, pay for an expert

by DC_GUY In reply to I am Overqualified! / I a ...

If you were consistently being told that you are overqualified OR underqualifed, then I would suggest that perhaps you really are, or at least that's the way you present yourself to people.

But if you're getting both criticisms, then there is either something wrong with your resume, or something wrong with the way you interview.

I'll give you the same suggestion that I've given to other people here. Go talk to a psychologist who specializes in management consulting. There are lots of them. Pick a Jungian if you can possibly find one, Freud's entire philosophy can be summarized in one discouraging sentence: Bloom where you're planted. (Hint, that means don't bother with an M.D.)

People who spend a good part of their careers advising managers know how managers think and how the world looks to them. An hour with one of these guys would probably give you enough material to completely overhaul both your resume and your interview style. And possibly even your approach to your career.

Good luck.

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