Understanding & overcoming imposter syndrome

Do you suffer from imposter syndrome, plus which industries are most affected?

Imposter syndrome is defined as “the persistent inability to believe that one’s success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved as a result of one’s own efforts or skills.”

It’s such a common phenomenon that almost 40% of UK employees may be affected. What’s more, a small number (2%) constantly experience such doubts.

Employees generally say they’re unsure they’re able to ‘fulfill all of the requirements of their current jobs.’

Certain professions experience this more often. For instance:

  1. Creatives, including artists and designers (52%)
  2. Finance professionals (47%)
  3. PR, Media, and Marketing employees (46%)
  4. Doctors, Nurses, and Dentists (44%)
  5. And IT professionals (43%)

Conversely, the professions exhibiting the greatest confidence levels include:

  • Sales professionals (78%)
  • Plumbers, electricians, and builders (72%)
  • And retail employees (68%)

In addition to these professional divides, men are more confident in their abilities than women (67% of men say they’re 100% confident in their abilities, versus only 58% of women). Older employees also express the greatest confidence levels (88% for over 65s versus 57% for 18 to 24-year-olds).

Job security fears are additionally causing some concern:

  • Only 54% of employees feel fully secure in their work.
  • 24% cite recent industry job losses as the reason for this, alongside:
  • A ‘competitive job market’ (17%)
  • And the effects of Brexit (14%)

How to overcome your imposter syndrome…

Considering its prevalence, it’s no wonder that this is such a popular topic. Thankfully, this also means there’s a lot of advice out there regarding how to overcome this affliction. Some of our favourite articles include:

  • Scott H. Young’s post on Medium. It’s a 7-minute read described as ‘a guide to living with the fear of not being good enough’. It explores some of the causes of the syndrome alongside some steps you can take to beat it.
  • Forbes’ 15 ways to overcome the syndrome. As the name suggests, this is a highly practical and tip-filled feature.
  • Mindful’s article, which includes a brief TedEd video alongside three simple steps.

Don’t be afraid to discuss your imposter syndrome with your friends and family. It really will help you to see how common this issue is.

Finally, keep an eye on our News page to ensure you stay up to date with all the latest career tips and news.



The most motivated age

When do employees reach their most motivated age? And what’s wrong with these sorts of findings?

The Independent’s latest careers news headline caught our eye. It states that ‘people are most driven aged 33.’ The article, based on research by Bupa Health Clinics, suggests that this is the age when people are likely to be more motivated, confident, energetic and positive.

This apparently applies to all of our goals from career intentions to healthy lifestyle plans. While the article and research are clearly well-intentioned, it’s important to note that these findings are also highly generalised and don’t reflect other research data.

Earlier studies have found that it’s the over-55s employee who is the most motivated. Plus it’s likely that we’ll soon hear Gen Z is leading the way on this front!

In reality…

There are extremely motivated individuals of every working age. Working closely with candidates across all career stages has shown us this time and time again.

Fear not if you’re only just embarking on your career and want to prove your motivation – or if 33 is a long distant memory – your individual drive can peak at any time. What’s more, there’s nothing to say you’ll only have one peak in your career.

What motivates you?

More detailed studies have suggested that the drivers that motivate employees may change throughout the career cycle.

For instance, older workers may be more inspired by roles that feature ‘autonomy and personal principles’ whereas younger employees may desire greater ‘competition and career progression.’

Even these drivers will naturally vary individually. With all this in mind, there are a few important questions to consider…

  • How motivated do you feel right now?
  • What actually motivates you?
  • And is there anything you need to change to increase your motivation at this career stage?

One example change is finding others to support you – something said to help 70% of respondents in the first survey piece.

A new opportunity may also prove to be an important driver for you.



How to prep for each job search phase

How to mentally prepare for each job search phase…

As we enter the last week of the month (which also brings the final posts in our special January series), it’s time to prepare for each phase of your job search. Today’s advice comes from Kourtney Whitehead, via Forbes.

Most career advice articles largely focus on the practical side of job hunting, from CV writing to interviews. All very necessary! However, it’s rare to find articles that explore the emotional and mental aspects of your search.

After all, as Whitehead suggests, job searches can be long and stressful at times. Particularly if you’re searching for roles in a new field or you work within a particularly competitive industry. Yet a little bit of mental prep can help you feel far more in control and may minimise some of the stress along the way.

Prepping for each job search phase…

1. Getting started

This is described as the easiest phase, due to your increased levels of energy and optimism. As Whitehead says, “few things in life will transform your daily experience faster than finding a new job.”

The first phase starts as soon as you’re actively working on your job search, for instance updating your CV and LinkedIn profile.

Your first mental challenge: fighting the urge to procrastinate. Fear of rejection may stop you from getting going as quickly as you could. The advice is to get started ASAP so as not to extend your search. Don’t let your CV efforts delay you either – focus your attention on tailoring your CV to the most appealing roles, as well as checking for errors.

Tip: don’t get too bogged down in how your CV looks either. A clean and classic layout is often far more reader-friendly than a heavily designed format. Visit our downloads page for more straight-forward CV Advice.

2. Finding leads

This is the most time and energy-intensive aspect phase of your job search. It’s now that you’ll be making contact with prospective employers via jobs boards, recruitment agencies, and similar. You may also soon be fielding calls and juggling interview requests.

Your second mental challenge: reaching out to others for help and being prepared for applications and conversations that don’t lead to results. This phase can leave job-seekers feeling ‘vulnerable’, yet it’s also the stage that Whitehead describes as “the bridge between dreaming for a new job and having your chance to sell yourself during an interview.”

She reminds that this is also the longest stage for most job-seekers. Again, the advice here is to prepare for these feelings and press on.

Tip: finding an expert recruitment consultant that you can really trust and open up to may help reduce some of that vulnerability (as well as giving you access to industry insights and some of the best local employers in your field!). The REC member directory is a great place to start, alongside checking Testimonials and Google Reviews.  

3. Converting opportunities

It’s now that you’re attending interviews, which can prove stressful for many candidates.

Your third mental challenge: second-guessing every aspect of your interview performance. This may include replaying your interview questions and answers on repeat in your mind and picking yourself apart for every perceived wrong.

Whitehead suggests that before each of your interviews you “promise yourself that you will do your best and then choose to be satisfied with wherever that leads you.”

Tip: remember, even if you’ve just been rejected from a role, it doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong. Seek feedback where you can (your Recruitment Consultant should assist with this) and move on to the next opportunity.

4.  The negotiations

This is the stage where you’ve received a job offer yet may be faced with a negotiation. You’ll see that many job vacancies indicate a salary range as opposed to a single salary figure. The end offer tends to depend on your experience level.

Your fourth mental challenge: facing negotiations when your salary worth perceptions differ from your prospective employer’s. You may feel pressure and anxiety around your abilities to negotiate and/or the fear of losing the opportunity.

Whitehead advises against undervaluing yourself and failing to negotiate at this stage.

Tip: before applying for roles, it’s worth having a really honest discussion with your Recruitment Consultant about your salary expectations. They can advise what’s realistic for your skills and experience to date and will, in many cases, do much of the salary discussion on your behalf, dependent on individual client arrangements.

We hope you already feel better prepared to start your job search. For further advice, catch up with the rest of our January series so far…

Don’t forget to keep popping back to our News page for more tips. You can also connect with us via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and/or register your CV for opportunities



Do connections matter more than talent in recruitment?

Do your personal connections really make all the difference to your career success?

2,000 UK employees aged 18-65 have been surveyed regarding possible routes to career success and the results are illuminating:

  • 37% of employees think that they must know ‘influential’ business people in order to be recruited or promoted.
  • Conversely, only 26% see their ‘work ethic’ as bearing an influence on these decisions.
  • And only 21% say talent is key.
  • 7% of the group believes that ‘social background’ contributes to their promotion opportunities or lack thereof.

About this study…

These findings come from The Social Mobility Pledge, a group working to promote social mobility in business.

Their founder, Justine Greening, is quoted as saying “…how can our country move forward as a whole when so many people feel they’re excluded from making the most of themselves because they don’t know the right person or belong to the right network? Family or personal ties have no place on the list of considerations when recruitment or promotion decisions are made.”

How much do your connections really matter?

It would be a lie to say that nobody in the UK has ever benefited from their family ties. However, please be assured that there’s more than one route to career success!

We’ve been recruiting for more than 20 years in Bath. Our clients don’t come to us asking for well-connected individuals, rather they come to us asking for the best match for their roles.

When saying the ‘best match’, talent and work ethic should feature much higher on those stats. Clients are looking for people with relevant experience and transferable skills and who’ll bring the right attitude to their teams.

How to increase your confidence when you’re lacking so-called ‘connections’…

  1. Re-read the above! Sometimes our assumptions get in the way of our choices. If you’re not putting yourself forward for a role that you know that you’re suitable or qualified for, you could be seriously holding yourself back.
  2. Remember there are many forms of connections in business. For instance, as recruitment consultants, our clients value our candidate insights and expertise. Not all agencies work the same; look for an REC-accredited company in your field (we’re on the list!).
  3. Increase your knowledge. Make sure you’re aware of what’s happening in business and your industry. Our news articles are a great starting point for general business news and career advice. You can also connect with us via  Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to receive links to the latest features.
  4. Increase your effort! Make sure that your CV is doing all it can to ‘sell your sutability’ to prospective employers and recruiters. As ever, tailor the content to match your individual applications. Here’s some simple CV advice and what to include in your cover email when contacting a recruitment agency for the first time.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask. Your recruitment consultant can support you with any questions you may have regarding your suitability for a vacancy. Once again, don’t let your assumptions stop you from putting yourself forward!

Ready to apply for a new role? Visit our Jobs page for opportunities throughout Bath and Wiltshire.



Is it your dream job?

Thinking back to your childhood, and more specifically age 5, what was your dream job? This formed the basis of a viral tweet at the start of this year. So viral, it even made its way into the Independent along with some of its more imaginative(/obscure!) responses.

How about in adulthood – have you made it into your dream job yet?

Even those who dreamed of more realistic roles are likely to respond with a ‘no’ to this question. After all, only 5% of UK adults say they’re in their ideal job. Career barriers appear to include:

  • Concerns regarding financial security
  • ‘Embarrassment’ about starting from scratch
  • Worries that family and friends won’t support your choices
  • Perceived ‘age barriers’
  • And low confidence

What are the UK’s ‘best jobs’?

Experience suggests the response to this question would be highly individual and we’ll each have our own measurement criteria. However, Glassdoor believes the ideal role comprises a combination of three elements

  1. Potential earnings
  2. Job satisfaction
  3. The number of job vacancies

Perhaps even more interestingly, they also say they’ve uncovered the UK’s 25 ‘best jobs’. 15 of which feature the same word…’Manager’.

You can find the full list here, alongside their median base salaries and job satisfaction rankings.

Fantastic news for managers. But what if your dream job doesn’t include management?

Again, let’s remember just how individual our career choices really are. Not everyone longs to manage departments and/or teams and some would rather do anything but this!

Even some existing managers don’t feel suited to their roles. Such as this contributor to The Muse’s career advice column.

The advice that follows is fantastic and largely centres around growing your expertise so that you can achieve career growth without having to follow a set management path.

Identifying your goals:

Perhaps this is the time to question what matters most to you. What are the top three things that you would prioritise in your next job role? Have you got a dream job? And what would career progression look like to you?

Remember to share your thoughts with your recruitment consultant – the more they know about your career goals the better. Be sure to also keep an eye on our jobs page so that you gain more of an insight into what’s out there and what really appeals to you.



Working parents news roundup

There are have been a number of new articles regarding the challenges faced by working parents…

The part-time penalty

Source: Working Families & Bright Horizons

Our first news source cites stats from the ‘Modern Families Index 2019’. Both the summary and full edition reports are available for free download.

Working Families and Bright Horizons Family Solutions founded this annual report in 2012. The index explores how UK parents ‘manage the balance between work and family life.’ So what did this year’s index show?

  • Part-time working parents have a 21% chance of a workplace promotion over the next three years. This is compared to the 45% chance for full-time employees.
  • Mothers tend to have to wait two years more than fathers for promotions, which is largely due to the fact that more mothers work part-time hours.
  • Working parents are facing vast workloads. 78% work more than their contractual hours. 60% say this is due to their high workload, while 52% attribute it to the company’s working culture.
  • Flexible working opportunities are far from meeting demand. 86% of parents wish to work flexibly, yet only 49% currently do so.
  • Out of work, parents are finding their relationships and home life are being negatively affected. They’re struggling to find sufficient leisure time for their children (47%), their relationship with their partner is being impaired (48%), and these pressures are even sparking arguments with their children (28%).
  • Additionally, 47% of parents feel that work-life boundaries are being ‘blurred by technology.’

Further stats detail concerns regarding the physical wellbeing impact in terms of sleep, exercise and diet.

Both the government and employers are being called upon to help ease some of the pressures described.

Childcare as a barrier

Source: Personnel Today & Travelodge

Of course, there are also many parents who long to be working parents yet are struggling to find suitable employment. Research finds…

  • 86% of unemployed parents ‘want to return to work’.
  • 67% would like the chance to move up their career ladder.
  • However, 61% have lost confidence as a result of their career break.
  • And 59% say it is a challenge to find work that suits their school run schedule.

Personnel Today also share a number of insights regarding the personal motivations to return to work.

Facilities lacking

Source: Personnel Today & Slater and Gordon

Breastfeeding mothers are also facing additional workplace challenges.

  • 56% of women have been forced to express milk in unsuitable places, from the staff room (18%) to their car (14%), and even their desk (11%).
  • 70% of businesses have not discussed this matter with their employees prior to their return from maternity leave.
  • And 29% of employees feel too embarrassed to raise the topic.

A number of consequences are discussed in the piece, which also highlights the stress and anxiety experienced by breastfeeding mothers.

Safety concerns are also raised owing to the fact that the milk is not always expressed in a hygienic setting.

Any parents affected by issues relating to childcare or employment rights, or those who simply wish to understand more about the benefits and tax credits available to them, can visit the Working Families website. The organisation also offers a helpline service. 

To see our latest vacancies, please visit our jobs page.