Beating Imposter Syndrome in Interviews

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Interviewing.io, a platform that allows people to anonymously practice technical interviews, recently analyzed how interviewees perceived their interview performance, versus how well they actually did. The result? A lot of folks out there are underestimating their abilities in front of an interviewer.

Interviews that kicked off with relatively simple questions before escalating into more difficult ones tended to make interviewees feel like imposters, even if they demonstrated the technical chops to handle even the more complicated queries. In addition, the interviewees self-flagellated over “issues that mattered a lot to them but fundamentally didn’t matter much to their interviewer,” according to the firm’s breakdown of the data.

The blog posting is worth a read, especially for the visualizations. Interviewing.io’s data just emphasizes how, for many tech pros, imposter syndrome is a very real issue. Even skilled candidates will sometimes feel like fakes, for no reason whatsoever. But here’s the good news: a quick self-acknowledgement that you suffer from imposter syndrome is the first step to moving past it.

As Debbie Chew, head of operations at Codementor.io, explained in a Dice guest column earlier this year, realizing that you’ve already accomplished quite a bit is an effective method for banishing those “imposter” thoughts. So is finding a mentor who can talk you through any self-doubts.

Experienced tech pros, of course, can also let their work speak for them. Come to job interviews prepared to tell stories about your accomplishments. How did you overcome massive challenges on a particular project? Which previous position allowed you to use a mix of soft skills and technical knowledge to achieve a goal? Telling a story isn’t just an effective way of convincing an interviewer that you’re right for a job; it can also boost your self-confidence, especially when it comes time to tackle any problem-solving or whiteboard questions.

Experiencing the jitters before an interview is totally normal. But don’t believe that nervousness is a reflection on your skills. You’ve made it this far in your tech career; you can land the job.

Image Credit: baranq/Shutterstock.com

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