One of my more memorable interviewing moments was when I interviewed to work at a resort. My boss was a colleague to the manager at this resort, so I was able to get feedback after the interview.
I went into the interview confident and prepared. I brought with me a portfolio of comment cards and projects I worked on, and was excited for the opportunity to meet with the property’s managers. Little did I know at the time that I was probably “too prepared” for the interview.
Since this was a lateral move from one property to another, I thought it would be a cinch that I’d be hired. I had the experience, the drive, and the personality, but unfortunately it may have come across as overconfidence in the interview.
A couple days later, I asked my boss what she had heard from the property. She told me that they were going in a different direction because they felt I was “too polished”. Taken aback, I asked her what she thought they meant by this, to which she replied “Well, to be honest, sometimes people feel threatened by anyone who comes in who might be smarter than they are, and they won’t hire you for that reason.”
It made me feel better about the situations, and made me realize that maybe sometimes being “too prepared” in an interview may not be such a bad thing.
I can very much relate to your experience regarding the “too qualified” and “too polished” evaluation you received from the interviewer. Competence can be perceived as very intimidating by an interviewer if the interviewer is just one or 2 levels above you in an organization chart. Many people experience feelings of self doubt, no matter how effective they are, and this is particularly prevalent when they interview someone who they think may be competition for their own job down the road. IT comes down to survival of the fittest. Remember the first rule of power is: Thy shall not outshine thy master!! It does not happen as often if you are being interviewed by someone who is not in your line of responsibility, ie, your interviewing for marketing, and the interviewer is vp or director of operations. Then, there is no threat of competition. Finding out ahead of time who you will be interviewing with can allow you to prepare your presentation, so that you can tailor your answers and overall demeanor depending on who is interviewing you. There is nothing inauthentic about this approach. You are still answering honestly but you are couching your comments in a non-threatening manner and preventing what could be considered “over-confidence” from surfacing. This is what is meant by being truly prepared for the interview.By the way, I love your blog as I just started reading them and am finding them very helpful and genuine.