Calling Bullshit w/ Jess Von Bank

  • Are you an imposter? A fraud?

  • Is that feeling self-imposed? Is anything in the workplace really self-imposed?

  • Is the term "Karen" just a mechanism to manipulate?

Wow, that got weird and deep fast, right?

Imposter syndrome is loosely defined as doubting your abilities and feeling like a fraud. It disproportionately affects high-achieving people, who find it difficult to accept their accomplishments. Many times, women in the corporate world are impacted the most.

All reasons to bring on Jess Von Bank to discuss this important issue and how we might be able to remedy this systemic problem that's unequally plagued the workplace for decades.

This smack of reality is supported by our friends at Nexxt. Here's some reality, people respond to texts and yet you're still emailing. Call Nexxt and ask them about how you can increase response rates and candidate engagement with text.


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INTRO (1s):

Hide your kids! Lock the doors! You're listening to HR’s most dangerous podcast. Chad Sowash and Joel Cheeseman are here to punch the recruiting industry, right where it hurts! Complete with breaking news, brash opinion and loads of snark, buckle up boys and girls, it's time for the Chad and Cheese podcast.

Joel (20s):

Oh yeah. We're recording on a Friday, which means you should lower your expectations. What's up everybody? This is the Chad and Cheese podcast. I am Joel Cheeseman joined as always by Chad Sowash and today we are just giddy.

Chad (33s):


Joel (34s):

To welcome Jess Von bank, head of marketing at Leapgen. Jess, how you been?

Jess (41s):

Amazing. I've been great, honestly. And I love your intro brash opinion. I have been accused of a brash opinion from time to time.

Chad (49s):

That's why you're here. Are you fucking kidding me?

Joel (52s):

Maybe you need a podcast.

Chad (53s):

Oh yeah. And here's the thing. So there are many topics that are out there that we just tap dance around, not us specifically, but generally the population. The general population, just tap dances around fluffy bullshit here and there.

Jess (1m 9s):


Chad (1m 9s):

I actually saw you posting on social media about imposter syndrome and we don't first and foremost, we don't hear enough about it. We don't understand cause and effect. And we literally, I think there's just too much tap dancing around this, which is why we wanted to bring you on, because you've done a bunch of research, you know about the workforce you've been in this industry and that's why you're here.

Joel (1m 33s):

She's done her homework.

Chad (1m 35s):

That's cool. Right?

Jess (1m 37s):

Yeah. And that post probably came from I'm. I'm just kind of tired of it. I'm over it. Not that imposter syndrome is not real and valid.

Chad (1m 47s):

What is it? Let's do that first.

Jess (1m 49s):

Yeah. So I have done the research. I actually had to like, where did it come from? Who started calling it this thing and when? Like, I like to know the backstory on things. I want it to be a journalist back in the day. And so imposter syndrome seems to have been coined, if this is accurate, but at Georgia State. A bunch of academics came up with this term to describe high achieving people, high achieving individuals who can't internalize their own accomplishments, they feel like a fraud in any room or when they're in a conversation with people who they think know more or know better than they do. And I think, you know, recent stuff, Brené Brown talks a lot about vulnerability and imposter syndrome and somehow over the decades.

Jess (2m 35s):

I mean, this is a real thing, I'm not denying the validity of imposter syndrome, but somehow we've applied this label more I think to women than to men. Maybe women just talk about vulnerability and emotion and, and whatever, maybe they just talk about it more. I think it doesn't just affect women, but does it affect women yet? So my me calling bullshit, it was not saying it doesn't exist. I said, stop telling women they have imposter syndrome because I think there are core issues that may, if that's a true statement, here's why. Women have not had representation, pay equity, equal opportunity of voice, the same level of influence authority, access, like call it what it is.

Jess (3m 22s):

If there's imposter syndrome, I wonder why? Like we're sort of tired of overcoming all of these barriers just to perform at the same level as our counterparts, who don't have the same barriers and obstacles to overcome, to enter the same room, in the same way. So when I say stop telling women they have imposter syndrome, I'm actually asking us to solve the real problems that still persist.

Joel (3m 47s):

Should it sort of stop at women?

Jess (3m 49s):


Joel (3m 50s):

Cause I know when I go to my break dancing class, I feel like a bit of an old man imposter, so I guess age could play into it pretty much anything. Right. But we're just focusing

Chad (3m 59s):

That in itself is not an imposter syndrome, you literally are an imposter, Joel. So what I mean, again, let's jump into some of these topics and talk about cause and effect, right? So let's talk about pay equity right out of the gate, because that is huge, we all know that women make less than men and overall, in some cases it almost feels like women are just happy to take less. Is that an imposter syndrome type of scenario and HR is a very female heavy industry. Why are other women allowing this to happen to their fellow females?

Jess (4m 41s):

Yeah, that's a great question. There there's actually some research and some data that gives us this belief that men do a better job of faking it until you make it. They ask for promotions, they apply for jobs, they ask for salary increases. They ask for opportunity or project more than a woman might in a similar scenario because like the actual data says that men will apply to jobs if they feel 60% qualified for that job. Women will only apply to a job if they feel a hundred percent qualified or better or overqualified and that's Harvard Business Review data. And in the same way, like raising your hand in the room, asking for asking for an opportunity or asking for a stretch assignment where you're completely outside of your comfort zone, men do all of those things more than women.

Jess (5m 33s):

And I do think that that there's like there's historical reason for this. Women have been taught to stay small and play it safe and be quiet. And we haven't, I mean, historically I think over time we have to learn how to find our voice and to take up space and to own the room and to take control of the conversation. These are not things that have come naturally, to not just to women, to underrepresented groups or to marginalized groups. We have to learn how to do it. We have to overcome imposter syndrome in order to use our voice and to exercise, you know, to sort of practice doing these things.

Chad (6m 12s):

How do we do that when we still have other women pushing offer letters across the table that are tens of thousands of dollars less than the male counterparts. How do we do that? When not just other men let's say, or the workplace, let's just say the workplace overall is designed to be a more of a macho place right? Now you have a single, just an individual who feels like an imposter how do you expect them to break out of their shell by themselves? Right? How do we actually, how do we fix that? Because telling a person you need to change is not the answer.

Jess (6m 51s):

No, this is systemic. This is systemic change that we need. And the system is you, me, all of us. In fact, you know, the stat that I mentioned earlier about, you know, women applying, if they feel 60% qualified. Hewlett Packard did a report that broke that down even a little bit more. When women don't apply to jobs, if they don't feel a hundred percent qualified, it's not actually about their perception about themselves or their qualifications, it's a perception about the hiring process. They don't believe the hiring process is one where they will be advocated for, where they will have the relationships or the influence, or the ability to sort of navigate that hiring process and overcome, you know, am I qualified in my, are we actually going to have a legitimate conversation about my ability to perform in this job?

Jess (7m 47s):

And so it's more about their perception of an unfair hiring process than it is about their own qualifications or their ability to do the job. And that's a systemic problem. That's the fact that we have not designed hiring and work systems with women's success in mind, or with success in mind, for those who do not have representation, who are currently disadvantaged in whatever way. And so we have to create processes. We have to attract people in a way that says we're going to be fair and equitable and you're going to have the ability to show up the way you show up in the interview process, if not in the employment relationship.

Jess (8m 28s):

You're going to be able to thrive. You're going to be able to contribute. Like there's a whole trust thing that has to happen, and that has to be built or rebuilt.

Chad (8m 37s):

There has to be proof.

Jess (8m 38s):

And then hiring process has to change. There has to be proof.

Chad (8m 42s):


Joel (8m 42s):

Where do you think the seed is planted for this systematic reaction to women? Is it in the home? Is it kindergarten? Is it obviously doesn't start in the workplace. When do you think it begins? Like where do we really to change it?

Jess (8m 56s):

Yeah. I mean, you guys know me, you know socially and outside of the work hats that I wear. So, you know, I'm all about raising girls and I think that it has to start so young. I like literally everything I do, and I'm not even joking everything. I do. Every conversation I have the behaviors I show my girls every single day, the relationships I choose for myself, how they see me engaged with the world. Everything I do is proof to them of what's possible or what could be, because if they just look at the world that exists today, that's not good enough. That is far from good enough. They're not going to see equity. They're not going to see balanced representation.

Jess (9m 39s):

They're not going to see women performing at the same levels as men in government, in business, in our communities. But they do need to, I mean, you have to see it to be it, right. Well, you know, we've heard all of that stuff. And so how do you start modeling what doesn't exist today? And you literally have to call, that's why I said, you know, stop telling women, they have imposter call it what it is. You have to start calling it what it is. You have to start laying facts, bare and pointing out, you know, when something isn't fair or equitable or pointing out, you know, when we're making progress, that's good and those things should be celebrated.

Jess (10m 21s):

When we, when we see another female CEO rise to the ranks, is that good enough? No, it's not good enough that we only have three or five or whatever the number is.

Chad (10m 31s):

8 percent in Fortune 500 companies.

Jess (10m 34s):

Yeah. I mean, that's terrible, but should we celebrate that progress and point it out and illustrate it for what it is? Absolutely, because that shows how much work we have left to do.

Joel (10m 45s):

Speaking of progress, I mean, I know, I think it's 77% of high school valedictorians now are females, obviously more females are graduating from college. Do you feel like that's that solid progress? Or does that not matter to the overall problem?

Jess (11m 1s):

You know, it probably points to the fact, you know, are women smart and academic? Are we hungry to learn? Are we creative and curious? Yes. All of those things are. Yes, yes, yes. I think it's, you know, remember like decades and decades ago, there was like, this men are from Mars, women are from Venus. I think it's a little dangerous to assign traits or qualities to a gender because I probably have more masculine traits than most of my female friends. I'm competitive, I'm assertive. I know my voice and I use it. Is that a female, a male thing? Should I, am I acting more like a man? I know I'm acting like me. I'm acting like I know how to act. And so I think it's a little, I think it's dangerous and I actually think it works us backwards If we start saying women should act more like men to achieve leadership positions or women make leaders because they're nurturing and empathetic.

Jess (11m 55s):

How about if we just take gender out of the conversation and talk about the traits and the qualities that make people succeed in various parts of their life, that way anyone who wants to own or develop those traits or qualities can and should advance to those ranks. And I'm not saying take gender out of the equation all together, because how do you know that you're achieving balance and parody? Yes, it should be considered, but I, I hate to limit ourselves to, you know, men are better at this and women are better at this. I think that gets, that's a pretty slippery slope.

Chad (12m 29s):

Let's take a look at some of the big issues we've talked about, pay transparent or pay already. Do you believe that a solution to be able to drive toward equity in pay is pay transparency? Just top to bottom pay transparency?

Jess (12m 46s):

Yeah, absolutely. I think a lot of things around look at all the conversations we have around diversity, equity and inclusion, we tend to get into race and gender a lot in that conversation, but even, you know, separately pay equity and other forms of parody. Promotions within an organization, true diversity within an organization, lay it all bare, literally opened the books. I mean, I don't know how many enterprises are truly, truly analyzing the numbers, let alone sharing. And I think that exercise could be really healthy. It could expose, you know, what, if we're solving the wrong problems, like expose what is actually happening so you know where to take the conversation next.

Jess (13m 33s):

You can't do anything without understanding exactly where you're at today. And being truthful, holding yourself accountable and being publicly accountable is a great place to start.

Chad (13m 43s):

Why do you think we're not transparent today?

Jess (13m 45s):

You know, that's a pretty competitive data point to share publicly if you're all, you know, trying to poach talent from each other, we're in a talent war again, always. And so it's probably for, for competitive reasons. And maybe we maybe don't, we don't want to expose our warts either. I just read this morning. I wish I could remember. There was a company who literally had not done a cost of living adjustment in 20 years, and they couldn't believe that, you know, or like unskilled low-skilled, hourly rate positions that netted like $30,000 US dollars a year. Once they did all of the adjustments, those people should be paid $45,000 a year.

Jess (14m 26s):

They did like completely like a mass update. All of those job levels, all of those roles immediately. And can you imagine if you were that job, if you, if you held that job and you were immediately bumped from $30,000 to 45 and that's just fair. I mean, that's not, you're not even getting over, forget getting overpaid. You're finally getting fairly paid. Yeah.

Chad (14m 46s):

Well, but what about all those years that you didn't receive those pay bumps? I mean, you're still missing wages right now, overall, so I understand where you're going there. So what other points when it comes to kind of like the cause and effect for imposter syndrome and the workplace are, have you seen or read about etc?

Jess (15m 10s):

You know, I think that the pandemic exposed a lot of warts too, in really interesting ways. We, I read, I've been doing some research this week for some content and developing. If the pandemic had not happened, the world would have created 30 million jobs last year, but it happened. So that factor, plus lots of other factors, we're at a global labor, we're at a global job shortage of around 144 million jobs. That's a job shortage, which seems a little bit, way contradictory, a little bit surreal and way contradictory when I say that we also have 9 million open jobs posted in the United States.

Jess (15m 53s):

So how can you have a talent shortage and a job shortage at the same time? What that means is we have a complete disparity. Globally, regionally, it's a complete mismatch of talent. The jobs that are open are low, no skill, hourly rate, early career entry level jobs that can not be filled. Yeah, they will literally can, like we have like these reams of unfillable jobs because the people who are looking for jobs, sure some of them are riding out, you know, COVID stuff and unemployment and whatever, not as many as you would think, the ones that are not applying for those jobs, don't want those jobs.