How to Overcome Self-Doubt and Close the Confidence Gap

As everyone knows, applying for a job can be a stressful time for all involved in the process. It is also necessary to take into account that it can be more so for one group of job seekers – women. This is due to the ‘Gender Confidence Gap’. This is a term that was first coined by Russ Harris in his book of the same name in 2011, further defined by Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook in 2013 and by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman in 2014.  Kay said “confidence, ultimately, is the characteristic that distinguishes those who imagine from those who do”. When applying for new roles, what appears to happen is that women fall victim to self-doubt much more frequently than men. This can become an issue when job hunting, especially when approached by a recruiter.

Judith Beck, who is an executive recruiter in financial services and is also the CEO of Financial Executive Women (FEW), found that the women she reached out to in relation to a certain job would say that they were happy where they were and that was the end of the conversation. On the other hand, Beck found that when she reached out to a man in relation to a certain job, they would also say they were happy where they were but they would ask what the opportunity would have in it for them and they were far more likely to accept an invitation to have a coffee and further discuss this option. Beck also found that the few women who went through the process were far more likely to accept a counter offer (see our article on why you should never accept a counter offer here) from their current Employer, even when there was no change in conditions to their workload/salary/etc as they felt a sense of loyalty and duty to the company and employer. Check out Beck’s video on the subject here.

By using a recruitment agency, you can ensure that you are not falling victim to this ‘confidence gap’ as others have before you. With Quest Recruitment, we will pair you with a recruiter who will stay with you throughout your journey to new employment. Due to this, you will grow to know each other and the recruiter will be able to guide you to the best role for you based on your experience. “A Hewlett Packard internal report found that men apply for a job or promotion when they meet only 60% of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100% of them. While you may be hesitant to apply due to not fitting 100% of the requirements, you can feel safe in the knowledge that the recruiter would not recommend you unless they were certain you could excel at that role.

While the ‘confidence gap’ as defined above affects women to a higher level, it is important to remember that there are also men who will neglect to apply for a job as they do not fit all of the requirements. As stated above, you should reach out to a recruiter who can guide you in the right direction and ensure that you apply for the roles that you are qualified for and would succeed in.

It is time to push forward and face your fears. After all, what is the worst that could happen? You may have to face a temporary rejection or momentary embarrassment but these feelings will fade and you will be left more confident in their shadows. For inspiration, consider this TED talk by Jia Jiang in which he faced rejection every day for 100 days. He did this to get over his fear of being rejected and to learn how to embrace it instead.

“When you get rejected in life, when you are facing the next obstacle or next failure, consider the possibilities. Don’t run. If you just embrace them, they might become your gifts as well.”

This is something that we can all learn from.

If you are considering changing roles in the coming months, please get in contact with Quest Recruitment today. As specialists in the Accounting and Finance sector, we will do our best to aid you with your journey and encourage you throughout each step of the process. You can also upload your CV by clicking here and one of our consultants will be in touch with roles that may interest you.