What is imposter syndrome and how to overcome it

25 August, 2021

Imposter syndrome gets to the best of us. It’s that underlying feeling that someone at work might come up to you and say, “Hold on, you don’t know what you’re doing, do you?”

We’ve all heard the saying “fake it till you make it” but at what point do you stop “faking it” and really “making it?”

Imposter syndrome can affect even the highest skilled employers. According to SEEK it affects 51% of women and 47% of men.

It’s the feeling that they don’t belong. You’re not alone if you have sometimes approached an interview feeling as though you are not skilled enough or don’t have enough experience for the role.

These feelings could be holding you back from some awesome opportunities! Here’s how to overcome imposter syndrome before you head into your next interview.

First, let’s identify the signs of imposter syndrome.

5 signs of imposter syndrome

  1. Procrastination: Delaying tasks because we don’t want to expose ourselves as a ‘fraud’ or fail.
  2. Perfectionism: We keep striving to get it right so we can’t be exposed.
  3. Being a workaholic: Over committing and overcompensating to work so that we can’t be told we aren’t good enough. 
  4. Avoidance or apathy: Lowering your goals so that you can claim you didn’t really try and therefore convince yourself you didn’t fail.
  5. Blame avoidance: It’s easier to blame others than to accept your own faults.

Why imposter syndrome happens

Were you raised to value achievement? Sounds like a silly question but it may just be the contributing factor to imposter syndrome. Imposter Syndrome is described as a description of thoughts and behaviours. It can happen if you were raised to value achievement, or if you don’t have the traditional qualifications for a role.

It can also occur if you don’t have as much time to invest in your role due to other commitments. For example, mothers with children may feel they are at a disadvantage that they cannot invest the same time as their male counterparts due to family responsibilities. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy. 

How can imposter syndrome hold you back?

As we mentioned above, imposter syndrome could be holding you back from applying for jobs, asking for pay rises, or selling yourself in an interview. If you are constantly afraid you aren’t an asset to your team it can lead to burn out or mental health issues.

How do we overcome Imposter Syndrome?

It’s important to recognise that your level of success should be dependent on how satisfied you are in your job and how well you are doing. Don’t focus on what degree or skillset your fellow team member may have. Chances are, you have been hired because you offer something valuable that they don’t and vice versa.

1. Express your feelings to your close friends or trusted circle. It’s often helpful to talk about it with other people, we realise that others experience it too.

2. Celebrate your achievements and internalise your success. Help to dull the imposter syndrome by focusing on the positive things you have achieved in your career and role.

3. Regular self-assessment is important in identifying your strengths and skillset. This can be as simple as making a list of things you do well, and the skills you can use – whether it’s a mental list or you write it down.

4. Don’t compare yourself to others. There’s a reason they say, “comparison is the thief of joy.” It’s even worse these days with social media projecting everyone’s highlight reels as if they don’t make any mistakes – ever. Everyone has their own unique set of skills, strengths and attributes that they bring to an organisation and no employer wants everyone to be the same.

We hope the above blog has helped with your imposter syndrome just in time for your next job interview! If you are looking for work in Perth, Western Australia, check out the job roles available with Silverstone Recruitment here.