Grow your career on

Advanced Search



When Should You ‘Fake It Till You Make It’?

By Sonya Buck, Australia


It’s true, we don’t all know everything and we are going to learn something new every single day until we shuffle off this mortal coil.


You may have heard of the expression ‘Fake it till you make it’, but when is appropriate to do adopt this strategy?


Confidence should be something definitely that you fake at interview, that’s if you feel you are lacking in this area.  Walking in telling yourself you know you fit all the selection criteria and you’d be great at the job will enable you to communicate the same to the interviewer. 


Looking for work for a while? Switch off any pessimism you might be feeling and fake happiness and enthusiasm.  No employer wants a negative Nelly on staff.


Faking it may be acceptable in some circumstances, but not all.  If you are in attending a job interview, exaggerating your abilities or experience to the extreme may land you in hot water when you get into the workplace.    


At interview we are all naturally trying to showcase our knowledge and abilities and afterwards there are definitely some things you can rush off and learn online or through friends.  Be careful with embellishing too much.  There may be some tricky questions that follow your initial response at interview and you could really be thrown into the deep end when you commence your employment. 


Remember there may be just a hair’s breadth between enhancing the scope of your abilities and downright lying.  Two of the whoppers not to go anywhere near is faking your qualifications or past employment experience.   So easy to check!


Certainly when entering the workforce you should mimic the positive behaviour of your superiors in order emulate their success.  The way you prepare and conduct yourself in meetings and how you treat others are just two things to consider.  Think carefully who you chose to emulate, choosing the wrong person may have diabolical consequences - see the movie Wall Street.


If you have been promoted or have been assigned a task you have never carried out before, observe others who successfully carry out that task.  Seek out books and online articles to help you with some skills like giving a presentation or adopting successful sales strategies.


I remember being a first time Manager and my Senior Manager giving me a book on the topic.  I secretly used that book as a bible for the first few months of the position, while copying the strategies he used with the staff.


There will be major tasks or projects which you have never carried out before and it’s important to recognise when to ask for help.


Through all of this ‘faking’ remember it’s important to stay true to yourself, be authentic.  Trying to be a whole different person for 8 hours a day takes too much energy, just use the bits and pieces which will help you in your role.


‘Faking till you make it’ is more about tricking yourself that you have the confidence and ability to do something, so maybe the term should be ‘Fake it till you learn it’.