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Top tips for jobseekers dealing with imposter syndrome

16 Jun 2022

Joblist CEO Kevin Harrington shares his advice on how to deal with negative self-talk when job searching and stop it from getting in the way of your career.

Imposter syndrome is tough to deal with at any point in one’s career. It can often hit people who are just starting out in a new job, and can become even more compounded as you move up the ranks and get promotions.

While there are some benefits to a little bit of imposter syndrome, more often than not it can be overwhelming and have a negative effect on your confidence levels at work.

But what about jobseekers who experience imposter syndrome? When on the hunt for a new role, you may be hit with a feeling that stops you from applying for jobs you believe you’re not good enough for.

Additionally, when you do go for roles, you may not hear back from every application and not every interview will go your way. This rejection can feed imposter syndrome in a big way and can have a detrimental effect on jobseekers as they continue the search.

According to a report from job search site Joblist that surveyed more than 800 jobseekers and 200 managers, 64pc of respondents felt underqualified for job listings, while 59pc assumed there would be better candidates.

Aside from potentially missing out on job opportunities because their imposter syndrome convinces them not to apply, the survey also suggested that candidates with imposter syndrome are twice as likely to be nervous in interviews than those without, making the interview process more difficult for them.

For those who feel that imposter syndrome is negatively impacting their job search, Joblist CEO Kevin Harrington shared three top tips to bear in mind.

Recognise that you’re not alone

“Imposter syndrome is a common phenomenon, even among high-achieving professionals. Jobseekers should try to remember this when they experience their own self-doubt,” he said.

“You can find comfort in knowing that other successful people have battled and overcome these same feelings.”

Don’t try to be perfect

Joblist’s survey also suggested that jobseekers with imposter syndrome are nearly 30pc more likely to lie during job interviews, perhaps in a bid to cover up what they believe to be shortcomings.

Harrington said that while it is important to focus on your strengths during an interview, there is also no need to shy away from discussing your growth areas. “Given that nearly 70pc of employers are more likely to hire someone who is honest about gaps in their experience or skillset, honesty truly is the best policy.”

Stay positive

Harrington also said that jobseekers with imposter syndrome can sometimes be guilty of self-sabotage, whether it be using an outdated résumé or skipping an interview.

“These actions may stem from engaging in too much negative self-talk, such as telling yourself that you are unqualified or assuming that better candidates are out there,” he said.

“To combat this, it’s crucial to be disciplined about managing negative thoughts, do your best to stay positive, and consciously try to build yourself up. This will help you avoid self-sabotage and approach your job search with as much confidence as possible.”

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Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny Darmody became the deputy editor of Silicon Republic in 2020, having worked as the careers editor until June 2019. When she’s not writing about the science and tech industry, she’s writing short stories and attempting novels. She continuously buys more books than she can read in a lifetime and pretty stationery is her kryptonite. She also believes seagulls to be the root of all evil and her baking is the stuff of legends.

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