Imposter Syndrome: 4 Ways Recruiters Say You Can Overcome It!


Have you ever felt like you don’t know what you’re doing as a recruiter? Like all your colleagues are geniuses while you are putting on a performance to stay with them? That your career will all come crumbling down once you’re exposed?

You may be suffering from Imposter Syndrome but don’t worry, you’re not alone! Even Albert Einstein had these feelings at some stage, despite his achievements. Imposter Syndrome is a ‘collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success’. People with the syndrome will experience feelings of self-doubt no matter how successful they may be.

Recruitment is built on relationships, so when you’re having feelings of uncertainty, how can you trust in the bonds you’ve made? The fear of being exposed by your colleagues, candidates, or clients becomes a constant cycle that you can’t seem to break. Research shows imposter syndrome commonly affects women more than men, so we included this as a topic of discussion across our recent Women in Leadership series to hear the perspectives of other women in recruiting.

The Women in Leadership series has previously been featured at our conferences: Bullhorn Live Sydney, Engage Boston, and Engage London. Due to the popularity of those sessions, we gathered another bunch of incredible recruitment leaders in Sydney at the Shangri-la Hotel in August. The panel Q&As and roundtable discussions at these events focus on the unique challenges and opportunities faced by women in recruitment today, offering a space for candid conversations so we can strive for continuous improvements together.

Check out the common themes about imposter syndrome from recruiters around the world and 4 ways you can overcome it.

1) Don’t underestimate yourself

During Sydney’s latest Women in Leadership breakfast, we were joined by Kelly Van Nelson, Managing Director at Adecco and Angela Anasis, Executive General Manager at Randstad on our panel discussion to kick off the event. During this chat, one of the quotes that resonated most with the attendees came from Kelly as she said “Only you can spread your wings and fly.” You may be thinking what did she mean by this?

Put simply, you’re the only one holding yourself back. You may underestimate your capabilities or have feelings that a ‘situation’ is too hard for you to navigate, but if you allow yourself to take a step back to assess the situation, you may find you actually have all the tools needed to excel.

Only you can spread your wings and fly
Kelly Van Nelson Adecco

2) Ask for help

A common component of imposter syndrome is to internalise things, meaning you’re not voicing your concerns or asking questions in fear of what other people may think. In this case, the mantra ‘fake it ‘til you make it’ isn’t going to work!

At Engage London, the recruiters participating in the roundtable discussion on imposter syndrome recognised it’s okay to ask for help when you need it. You don’t always know the answers to everything – as humans we rarely do! That’s why you have your colleagues around to bounce ideas and ask questions of – you can’t do it all yourself. During Sydney’s event, Angela Anasis said, “have the courage to be able to speak up”. We couldn’t agree more.

3) Strive for your goals

During Engage Boston’s Women in Leadership luncheon, we heard how vital it is to spend time understanding what is important to you. What are you striving for? What are your goals?

You should have a clear path in achieving your career goals and leverage the people around you to help you get there. When you have reached a goal or milestone, don’t doubt yourself. You’re deserving of your position because you have the skills for it and worked hard to get to where you are. Hold onto that feeling as a source of power when you experience any insecurities because of imposter syndrome.

4) Appreciate your success

As we’ve just touched on, you’ve worked hard to be in the position you are in, so appreciate your success. Learn to understand your self-value and the value you bring to your team and the business as a whole.

As a recruiter, you get to change a candidate’s life and add value to your clients almost on a daily basis. Accept compliments from your peers, candidates, and clients – they are saying these things to you for a reason. You’ve earned it! If you need more proof, you can gather evidence to remind yourself of your accomplishments.


Want to join in on the conversation at our next Women in Leadership event? Register for Engage Sydney 2020 and watch out for upcoming announcements on how you can join us.

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