Can I hear his question? Am I really following what he said? Stop. Pause. Rewind. I think I’ve missed the question. Or maybe, I don’t know the answer. Should I ask him to repeat or just say I don’t know? Oh no! It’s getting worse. I’m staring blankly at them and now I’m sweating. How long have I been sitting here? Should I look down? No, they will think I’m distracted. What should I do?
Scared, trembling and sweating, you wake up. You were dreaming and for the nth time, you saw yourself in the interview room, stuck; too amazed at the question, or the interviewer, you don’t really know. But why are you dreaming about facing an awful interview? Why are you scared of facing the interviewer when you have everything in place, your degree and the required credentials? This is what we call the Imposter Syndrome.
Wait. Before you let this dream take hold of you, let us help you out.
The Imposter Syndrome
First used in the 1970s by psychologists, the Imposter Syndrome describes a state of mind where you judge your level of competency and believe that you aren’t as capable as everybody else, even if you’re the best at everything you do. In simpler words, this particular syndrome makes you doubt yourself. It makes you feel like a fraud, as if you don’t belong to a specific place and only got there because of sheer luck.
While this syndrome was initially applicable to women who were high achievers, it now is experienced by most people, where most refers to around 70% people, at least once in their life. So, it isn’t uncommon. What then should you do to overcome this syndrome and let it not affect your interviews?
To maximise your performance during your next interview and not let the imposter syndrome ruin your chances of making it through, we have a few tips that can keep your inner voice in check. Follow the steps below to not let negativity take charge of you during the interview.
Assess the end goal of the interview
Interviews are meant to be nerve-racking. They take control of your senses, making you feel anxious, self-conscious which, in turn, provokes self-doubt. You might have an outstanding CV with credentials that speak volume about your abilities and skill-sets. But it is only after conversing with the interviewer when you get to know whether or not you will be hired. Once aware of this fact, your end goal of the interview should be to leave a positive impact on the recruiters, such that they want to hire you and want to work with you.
You should have good knowledge of the technical field you are associated with. But recruiters often judge you on those grounds before even calling you for an interview. What they aren’t aware of is what will it be like to work with you. This is what holds value during the process. If you keep this in mind and do not stress yourself about all the technical knowledge you must be equipped with, it will help you put the imposter syndrome to rest during the interview. You can then be yourself with the hiring team, the exceptional person that you are.
Practice will put your imposter demon to sleep
In almost all cases, the phrase, “Practice makes a man perfect”, is justifiable. Similarly, practising well for an interview, before you actually step into one, can help you ace it with ease. An additional benefit that practice has, in this case, is that you’ll get to hone your skills which will reflect on the D-day.
The more you practice, the less you’ll fumble while answering and the more confident you’ll get. Confidence will help you get past your imposter syndrome and thus, will help you sit comfortably during the interview process, without having the fear of losing your calm midway. So, sit for as many mock interviews as possible and train yourself to stay calm.
Calm down, it is going to be okay
Even after having prepped yourself multiple times for the final day, you are bound to get nervous, even before you step into the interview room. It is difficult to not get derailed in front of a panel of interviewers who are mere strangers, impossible to escape the eyes that start judging you from the minute you enter the room. But before this thought makes you shiver and sends a bout of jitters down your spine, you must know that there a few interview aspects that you can actually control.
For instance, if you’re worried about not being able to make it to the interview location on time, try analyzing different routes to the venue before the D-day. Look for the route that has the least amount of traffic and helps you reach the venue the fastest.
Another thing that you can manage is nervousness. Reach the interview location before time and take some time out for a 10-minute walk. Before you sit for the interview, take deep breaths and calm yourself. Deep breathing is an exercise that helps you calm down and allows you to feel relaxed and more confident about yourself.
Finally, you need to manage your anxiety and nervousness levels during the course of the interview. To shift the focus, try diverting your attention to less important things, like the people sitting outside the room. So, whenever you feel self-doubt or the imposter syndrome creeping up your nerves during the interview, try thinking about something else, other than the interviewer’s question. This will help you calm down before you’re actually prepared to answer the question. You will be less worried about yourself and will be able to perform better.
Only you can control your demons
In the end, to overcome your fears, insecurity and self-doubt during the interview, you must understand the interviewer’s as well as the organization’s need. Put yourself in their shoes to know what they’re looking for and you’ll be able to analyze the situation better. Once you’re aware of their requirements, you’ll be more confident about yourself and will be able to give your best shot at the interview.
Keep your fears aside, it is time to make the most of what you’ve got!