How interviews cracked my imposter syndrome.

Shabna Zaheer, iOS Engineer at MATCHESFASHION


Shabna Zaheer, iOS Engineer at MATCHESFASHION shares her experience of imposter syndrome and importantly, some incredibly useful tips for interviews and how to avoid letting your imposter syndrome get the better of you.

I’ve been a Software Engineer for 6 years now, with nearly half that time spent as an iOS Engineer at MATCHESFASHION.

I made websites as a hobby during school, I studied Software Engineering, I got into a graduate scheme before I graduated and yet if you asked me how I got into this industry I’d definitely reply “I got lucky”.

If you haven’t heard the term “imposter syndrome”, let me give you the textbook definition:

Imposter Syndrome: 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.

Imposter Syndrome

One thing I love about this career is the people you get to meet and work with. You will meet so many developers and learn so much from them but I realised the more I listened to other developers or paired with them or read blogposts, the more I felt like “I have no idea what I’m doing”.

We have a fundamental need to evaluate ourselves, and the only way to do that is in reference to something else. Now since we live in a world populated by other life forms that look and behave a lot like us, that something else becomes someone else — other people. And when these people work closely with you or in similar roles to you and you decide they’re better at this job than you, it’s impossible not to feel like you’re not good enough.

I wanted to move jobs

The moment I really felt the force of this syndrome was when I realised I wanted to move jobs. Now most people find interviews scary as it is but I found it especially scary as I thought tech interviews were the worst interviews out there because of the dreaded…technical task. I was convinced this was the moment the curtain would fall and my façade would be ruined — they’d realise “I have no idea what I’m doing”.

The month I spent applying for jobs and interviewing felt like one of the longest months of my life, I felt the full force of anxiety within this time and I was preparing myself for a barrage of “no’s”. In the end I did three interviews and I managed to secure a job offer…from all three.

Shabna Zaheer, iOS Engineer at MATCHESFASHION


Shabna Zaheer, iOS Engineer at MATCHESFASHION

After convincing myself I have the technical skill of a Bebo page designer, I couldn’t believe I had three job offers, for three incredible companies. It wasn’t that I got these job offers that surprised me, it was just how little confidence I had in my own abilities. There is no one-size-fits-all Software Engineer — I had compared myself to my colleagues and created a mental image of what a “good” software engineer is, but the reality is there’s so much more to this role.

My advice

My advice to you is to focus on your strengths and what’s important to you and use that to guide your own career. Next, stop self-sabotaging. You’re not in your role because you got lucky, or you were the lesser evil or they just liked you because you watch the same TV shows; you’re there because you are great at what you do and you provide value to your team and to your company.

If you want to challenge yourself, do some 10% time projects or present something you’ve worked on — at MATCHESFASHION we have a fortnightly Brown Bag session where a variety of team members take turns to present something that’s interested them. It’s a great way to share your knowledge and learn something in the meantime.

My main point from this post was to say you don’t need to wait till you apply for a new job to find out you’re actually good at what you do (like me) but I thought I‘d round this off with some tips for interviews (I spent 2 weeks reading pretty much every material available online on the topic)…so here we go:

People working at a table

    Finally — don’t view rejections as a failure. I believe these things happen for a reason – if they felt I didn’t I fit the role, or their culture or meet a certain expectation then it wasn’t meant to be! The right place is out there for everyone. Happy interviewing 🙂

    p.s. If you really want to put these skills to the test, we are hiring at Matchesfashion! Feel free to reach out with any questions.

    To find out more about MatchesFashion – check-out their Company Profile for more information about their culture, team and working life.

    Matchesfashion four models


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