“I’m a fraud”: Imposter Syndrome and 3 Ways to Beat it

September 14th, 2020

Dr. Pei-Han Cheng, a psychologist at St. John’s University in New York City, says, “People with imposter syndrome...don’t have an accurate understanding of how competent they actually are because their mind is clouded by this belief that ‘I am a fraud.’”

Ring any bells?

38% of UK workers lack confidence in their ability to perform their job roles and only 58% of women are self-assured in their roles.

More often than not, Imposter Syndrome occurs in the first few weeks or months when starting a new job. You begin to realise that everyone understands the company ‘better’ than you; that asking basic questions makes you feel inadequate and unreliable.

Of course, current employees are going to know the company inside out and you will too, very soon, as long as you stick with it!

As a recruiter, we should be looking for new ways to inspire and encourage candidates. To point you in the right direction, we’ve put together a few tips to aid the sticking-with-it process…

Reality Check ASAP

Step one is to hold yourself accountable for each negative thought that unjustly pops into your head. Your co-worker didn’t smile at you because they disliked you; they are busy people, who probably didn’t even realise they had looked in your direction, let alone made a conscious effort to frown. 

Overt, negative thinking patterns are symptoms of low confidence, but once you recognise these thoughts as side-effects rather than actualities, you can begin to reject them.

Cheng says, “our emotional state affects our perception.”

Trust your abilities over your thoughts. To help you do this, we have written down some ways to help you...

Remember Your Achievements!

Yes, remember all of those times you excelled, learnt something new, or used your skills to help someone else!

With ‘to-do’ lists unticked everywhere and loads of emails that need responding to, we’re quick to forget all of the tasks that we have achieved. It may be helpful to make a weekly achievements list that you can add to each day or so. Then come Friday, you can reflect on the hard work!

What helps is supportive and encouraging colleagues who congratulate you on your achievements, big or small.

Leading us nicely onto point 3.

Build Beneficial Relationships

There’s an easy way to not create a strong network and that’s self-isolating from the people you see and work with each day.

We need validation sometimes, or even just someone to sit with at lunch. This is hard as a newbie, but it’s important to at least try if you feel like you’re ‘catching’ Imposter Syndrome.

Cheng explains that people at work can help you normalise your thought process and better yet, reassure you that it’s not true!

The best thing you can do if you’re unsure about your role or business is to question everything and ask for regular feedback from your boss or area manager. Anyone in these positions will value your inquisitiveness and eagerness to learn about the company.