Overcoming “Imposter Syndrome”

The Anonymous Mask – a fairly well known and universal image of movie fans. But how often do we crave the ability to hide behind a mask out of fear instead of Halloween or a hackathon? The desire to cover up your shortcomings by avoiding the conversation, or push back the meeting a little longer until you learn everything you need to. It happens to all of us occasionally. I’m talking about “Imposter Syndrome.” That feeling in your gut when you are tasked with taking on something new and expected to be great. Why you? You will be great because you were great at the last thing you did, even though it was nothing like this.

Perhaps you are the new sourcer on a team, never recruited IT in your life, but an urgent, pressing Java req just had an offer declined, and someone needs to fix it. You’re the new girl with a light workload, you got this one, right?

Or maybe you just finished a year of crushing your sourcing goals two times over, so you got promoted to lead the team. However, you’ve never managed anyone before. You got this, riiight?

Or you are new to a team because an old boss loved your work at a previous company, but what you got hired to do something you’ve only thought about as a possible pet project one day. You got this, riiight?

Don’t fret, and don’t feel alone. We all have had our moment like this. Because as recruiters and sourcers, we have one skill that is tough to measure. Being a duck, calm, cool, and collected above the water, and our feet going a million miles a minute under the water. We are masters at learning because we have to be. Unless of course, you remember everything about when you were an engineer, accountant, director of strategy, brand manager, CNC machinist, avionics technician and nurse from your past lives. Of course, you don’t. That would be ridiculous.

Through our time in the industry, recruiters become masters of learning because it is the key to our survival. We learn how to ask more questions, and question the answers to those questions. We learn how to have candidates explain something further because we “really want to dig in” (i.e., we have no idea what the acronym is that was just used, but we want to). We don’t do things just because someone before us did it that way; we learn something that makes more sense or is more efficient.

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You know how I know this about YOU specifically and undeniably? Because last I checked, no one is born as a recruiter, no one plans to grow up and be a recruiter, no college or university has a Bachelors in recruiting degree offered, and most employers don’t have great recruiting training programs. Yet, here you are, recruiting and sourcing anyways. How? Not because you were taught or learned everything you need to know in the future, but because you are learned how to figure it out along the way.

So, don’t be afraid of feeling like an imposter, don’t doubt your ability to take on the next challenge. We are all imposters, wearing a mask to fake it until we make it. In reality, if you don’t feel challenged or stretched in your current role, you aren’t developing or growing either. Maybe instead of being afraid to try that new thing, you should run towards it with excitement and get pumped about sharing with the community what you learn when you get there.

 

Matthew Dickson is a Cleveland sports fanatic (#Believeland), board game enthusiast, dog lover, and story-teller at heart. He has ten years of recruitment industry experience across both agency and corporate. Currently, he works for Accenture Operations as a Sourcing Team Lead and manages a talented group of six, as a player and coach. He dreams of the day an ATS will be designed by recruiters for recruiters so we can all talk about something different. 

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