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Unmasking the Imposter: Empowering Women to Lean into Success

Posted May 20, 2024

Imposter syndrome, is a widely researched phenomenon and is a common experience for professionals at varying points in their careers, affecting our self-perception and professional growth.

Picture this scenario: you have tirelessly worked towards your objectives, achieving significant milestones and securing your ideal position. Externally, everything appears perfect. However, internally, you wrestle with doubts about your competence, despite external affirmations of your capabilities. What makes this worse is that, The International Journal of Behavioural Science reveals that unfortunately, approximately 70% of individuals encounter imposter syndrome at some point, highlighting its prevalence.

A primary catalyst for imposter syndrome is often, the toxic habit of comparison. In an era dominated by social media, it is all too easy to view others curated successes and question your own accomplishments or progress. Research indicates that, historically women, in particular, were more susceptible to imposter syndrome, frequently attributing their achievements to external factors rather than recognising their own skills, efforts, and successes. That being said, more recent studies indicate that it affects both men and women nearly equally, although they may experience it differently due to social and cultural factors.

With this in mind, what can you do to combat the overwhelming and grossly unwelcome feeling that is imposter syndrome?

Acknowledging Success

As someone in their late twenties, I have come to realise the importance of consciously acknowledging and celebrating personal achievements, regardless of their scale. Each success, no matter how modest, contributes significantly to our overall growth and self-perception. Finding time in each day to acknowledge successes, can be one of the ways that you can begin to overcome imposter syndrome. I myself have struggled in the past, when it comes to talking openly about successes, as I’ve been consumed with anxiety that it would be considered ‘bragging’, when in reality, sharing successes no matter how large or small can leave you feeling both recognised and empowered.

The Power of Vulnerability

Discussing imposter syndrome can be intimidating, yet there is strength in vulnerability. I have found comfort in sharing my experiences with friends, family, and colleagues. Openness often reveals that many share similar challenges, making vulnerability an invaluable tool for fostering connections and personal development. As humans, we can often be guilty of making decisions based on assumptions. By allowing yourself to be more vulnerable, to can begin gain much more exposure and insight of others experiences and challenges.

Fostering Self-Compassion

Developing self-compassion is an ongoing endeavour. In my journey, I am learning to dispel the myth of perfection and embrace mistakes as vital learning opportunities. By nature, I can be very hard on myself, and have worked tirelessly over the last couple of years avoid feelings and urges to leave on a high, rather than embracing mistakes and using them to better myself. It’s also key to strive to extend the same kindness and understanding to myself that I would offer others.

Building a Supportive Network

Building and maintaining a supportive professional and personal network is vital in overcoming imposter syndrome. This network should include mentors, peers, and friends who can provide honest feedback, encouragement, and share their own experiences with imposter feelings. By seeing how others have navigated similar challenges, you can gain perspective on individuals experiences and feel less isolated in future struggles. Networking groups, professional associations, and social media platforms can be excellent resources for building these connections.

Cultivating a Growth Mindset

Developing a growth mindset, is particularly beneficial for combatting imposter syndrome. This involves shifting focus from proving competence to developing it. Embrace challenges as opportunities for growth, and understand that effort and learning are part of the journey to mastery. By valuing growth over perfection, you can more easily recognise your progress and feel less like imposter.

Setting Realistic Expectations and Boundaries

We often face societal pressures to excel in multiple roles, which can exacerbate feelings of imposter syndrome. It’s important to set realistic expectations for oneself and establish clear boundaries. This might mean saying no to additional responsibilities when you’re already stretched thin or setting aside time for self-care and personal development. Recognising that you cannot be everything to everyone is a crucial step in overcoming imposter feelings.

Practicing Self-Affirmation

Positive Self-Talk Self-affirmation practices can be powerful tools in combating negative thoughts and imposter syndrome. This involves regularly reminding oneself of personal strengths, achievements, and unique qualities. Positive self-talk helps in reframing negative thoughts that contribute to feelings of being an imposter. Instead of thinking, “I don’t belong here,” one might reframe this as, “I was chosen for my skills and I bring a unique perspective.”

Seeking Professional Guidance

Sometimes, the most effective strategy in overcoming imposter syndrome is seeking professional guidance. This can include talking to a mentor, a career coach, or a therapist who specialises in career-related challenges. These professionals can provide personalised strategies and support to help women understand and navigate their imposter feelings.

I recognise that overcoming imposter syndrome is not a one-time event but a continuous process of self-discovery and personal development. It’s about stepping into your power, recognising your worth, and understanding that your voice and contributions are valid and needed. Through supportive networks, a growth mindset, realistic expectations, positive self-talk, and professional guidance, women can not only overcome imposter syndrome but also thrive in their personal and professional lives.

If you have a talent project or require support creating your employer value proposition and talent programme, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Click here to book a meeting with Mollie.


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How do we deal with the rise of ghosting in the interview process?

Posted May 15, 2024

Sadly, and I think this is a direct product of automated processes, ghosting has become more and more common in the hiring process and is one of the biggest pain points for candidates in today’s job market.

What is interview ghosting?

This refers to the ceasing of all communication with a candidate after the interview.

As an interesting aside here, this is an extrapolation of the CV ghosting problem that arose as a product of email/internet/outsourcing (god this makes me feel old) many years ago. When I began a career in recruitment, some 30 years ago, the delivery of a candidate was personally done (often by hand, if not by fax – look it up youngsters!) with an associated conversation, giving the opportunity for full feedback loops to both sides. As a consequence all candidates got feedback on their CV submissions.

We lamented it when this disappeared, and in the main it has not returned – and is probably a product of busy hiring managers not having the time to feedback, processes not having the time to feedback, a lack of appetite for confrontation, or a societal shift to not wanting to deliver bad news.

What is the interview process?

The investment of energy from various parties to get to this point is significant, there is:

  • the sourcing of the candidates (either through attraction or search, there is a cost associated with this);
  • the processing of the application (manual, automated or otherwise, there is a requirement for people and systems to get the application to the correct person);
  • then the review and subsequent organisation of the interview itself;
  • and finally the interview, or series of interviews (often involving more than one person and more than one instance)

And then whilst the successful candidate is inevitably engaged (they wouldn’t be successful otherwise), what is the brand damage, and cost, associated with the unsuccessful interviewee’s?

The impact of being interview ghosted

The cold avoidance of full and frank feedback is disorientating and discouraging for the candidate. It is hard for them to not feel as though their time and efforts have been wasted, and inevitably they feel taken advantage of. They also have no idea where they missed the mark for the client, and what if they were a close fit, what if they could be suitable for another role, what if their experience develops over the coming months and they become suitable?

They in effect become a lost candidate to the business due to past experience, and in this day and age of critical candidate shortages that seems either short sighted or a touch arrogant.

Moving forwards

And so our message to hirers is don’t ghost. Give full and frank feedback to all interviewee’s, you never know when they may become a candidate again, or in specialist markets when they may be interviewing you in the future!

And to candidates, this isn’t your fault and is not just happening to you. This is fast becoming a standard in a market that is at risk of over processing and removing critical human touch points in the hiring process. All that nonresponse means is that you are not the front runner for the position that you were going for, so perhaps make the assumption you were a close second and move onto the next opportunity.

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Java Developers in the Defence Sector: What Does the Future Hold?

Posted April 29, 2024

Responsible for developing and implementing many business-critical applications and software platforms, Java Developers have for a long time held specialised and essential roles in many defence sector organisations.  

But as we move through Q4, will the demand for security cleared Java Developers still be as strong?  

In this opinion piece, Sanderson’s Head of Recruitment Services for our Government & Defence team James Corcoran gives his thoughts on the current state of the market as well as his projections for the future of Java Developers in the defence sector.  

The current state of the Government & Defence sector job market 

In good news for the government & defence sector, we’re seeing indications that the market is slowly rebounding. This is driven largely by contract demand as security organisations continue to be cautious after a year of rationalisation.  

Certain roles are tending to have more demand than others, and a Java Developer is one of these in demand skill sets. This could account for the 8% increase in salary costs that we saw between Q2 2023 and Q3 2023.  

Software roles in demand 

Java is one of the most popular programming languages used in enterprise companies, yet despite this 8% salary increase, is it set to start losing ground in terms of companies wanting to hire these skills?  

There are several surveys which do actually show a decline starting. In fact StackOverflow’s Developer survey recorded a drop from 33.3% to 30.6%, whilst the TIOBE index in October 2023 showed that Java’s year-on-year rating had dropped by 3.9%. 

What does the future hold for Java Developers and the associated talent pool? 

A big question in my mind is, are we going to see a further decline?  

Certainly, Oracle’s decision to stop all security updates for Java 8 without a support agreement is a warning shot. This coupled with their decision to change their pricing model to a new one that, according to Gartner, could cost organisations from 2 to 5 times more in annual licensing costs, only fuels speculation for Java’s decline. 

In my opinion though, Java is not going anywhere. 

It’s still the fourth in TIOBE’s Programming Index, and combined with the salary increases we’ve seen, it’s a proven, secure, and safe programming language with a significant adoption rate in many organisations.  

Over the next 12-18 months I believe the Java talent pool will skew to the later generations, with more experienced candidates and, as a result, be more contract-driven over the next few years.  

Our talent solution 

If you want to stay ahead of the curve and ensure you’re hiring the right security cleared candidate in the Java Development field for your organisation, we can help.  

As specialists in sourcing hard to find talent we will always solve your talent problems through to completion. You can find out more about our Government & Defence Recruitment services here. 

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch and let me know how I can help you. 

James Corcoran, Head of Recruitment

[email protected], +44 (0) 748 430 0887   

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Sanderson Government & Defence launches Extended Talent & Services for Cabinet Office

Posted April 26, 2024

We are delighted to have been awarded a Vendor Neutral Managed Service into two key divisions of the Cabinet Office, namely Government Digital Services (GDS) and the Central Digital and Data Office (CDDO).

Our service, launched in April this year, is branded as Extended Talent and Services (ETS) reflecting the programme ambitions to capture a wide-ranging pool of DDaT and Commercial talent to augment civil service and partner delivered resources.

The key aims for the programme are:

  • Implementation of an ambitious sourcing strategy providing multiple routes to market. To deliver a talent partner solution that helps GDS and CDDO remain competitive in the market and to make improved strategic sourcing decisions.
  • Reductions in time-to-fill rates, whilst increasing and improving engagement with key strategic suppliers who specialise in the supply of workers across DDaT and Commercial areas.
  • Access to quality market research, talent market trends and accurate pricing data to support more informed decision making and offer choice.
  • Implement market leading technology to reduce the admin and contractual burden, ensure all processes are transparent, and offer real-time and supportive reporting

Commenting on this latest win, Nick Walrond, Managing Director of Sanderson Government & Defence said;

“We look forward to forging a long term and successful partnership with the GDS and CDDO teams, whilst building trusted and effective relationships with the critical supply chain. Our aim is to offer a route for new suppliers to be able to be onboarded quickly and easily in alignment with the future skills challenges faced by these key areas of government.”