Managing the impostor phenomenon during a job interview can be a daunting task, but with some guidance from a recruiter, candidates can navigate this challenge more effectively. First and foremost, it’s essential for candidates to acknowledge that they are not alone in experiencing these feelings of self-doubt. Impostor syndrome is more common than one might think, even among highly successful individuals. Understanding that these feelings are normal can help alleviate some of the anxiety associated with them.

Secondly, candidates should focus on their achievements and qualifications. Before the interview, it’s crucial to review their resume and remind themselves of their accomplishments. By emphasizing their strengths and past successes, candidates can boost their confidence and counteract feelings of inadequacy. Additionally, they should prepare specific examples of how their skills and experiences align with the job requirements. Being well-prepared with concrete evidence can help candidates feel more self-assured during the interview.

Furthermore, it’s essential for candidates to practice positive self-talk. They should challenge negative thoughts and replace them with affirmations of their capabilities. Recruiters recommend practicing mindfulness techniques to stay present during the interview and avoid getting caught up in self-doubt. Breathing exercises and visualization can be particularly helpful in staying calm and focused.

Lastly, seeking support from a mentor or coach can be invaluable. A trusted advisor can provide valuable feedback, help candidates recognize their worth, and offer guidance on how to handle the impostor phenomenon. Overall, by acknowledging their feelings, focusing on their achievements, practicing positive self-talk, and seeking support, candidates can effectively manage the impostor phenomenon during a job interview, increasing their chances of presenting themselves confidently and securing the desired position.

Example how Consea has helped candidates navigate Imposter Syndrome

During a recent interview for a senior HR management position, the candidate, let’s call her Melissa, exhibited classic signs of Imposter Syndrome. Melissa had an impressive resume with years of experience in her field, yet as soon as the interview started, she seemed uneasy.

As I delved into her accomplishments and expertise, she downplayed her achievements, attributing them to luck or teamwork rather than acknowledging her own skills. It was clear that she struggled with recognizing her worth and was haunted by the fear of not being as capable as her credentials suggested.

In an attempt to address this, I shifted the conversation to focus on specific projects she had led. I asked for details about challenges faced, strategies employed, and outcomes achieved. As she passionately described her experiences, it became evident that her contributions were significant and impactful.

This scenerio highlighted the importance of not just evaluating a candidate’s qualifications on paper but also understanding their self-perception and mindset. Here at Consea, I, as a headhunter, benefited from delving deeper into the psychological aspects of the candidate to uncover hidden potential and help them overcome Imposter Syndrome during the interview process.


Author: Julia Galloway, Human Resources Business Partner