Should I bow out of the interview process if I'm worried about my ability to deliver for the team?

The backstory: 

I've been recommended for a job and they think my experience is bigger than I think it is. I'm afraid they will be disappointed if I start working there and can't deliver on their high expectations. Should I bow out of the interview process?

— Julia
New York, NY

Alex's Advice

Julia —

This sounds more like a confidence issue than an experience issue to me. You said you've been recommended, so right off the bat, that tells me someone else believes in you. My question for you is, do you believe in yourself?

There's no substitute for that inner confidence. I'm not saying it's easy to tap into, but I do know that a true believe in your own abilities will take you far — and sometimes even further than on the job experience. You have to believe you can do it before anyone else will.

That said, there's a difference between talking a big game and being able to execute. So if you're unsure about where you stand relative to the responsibilities in this position, remember that interviews are a two-way street: you get to ask them as many questions as they get to ask you, so show up prepared to have a thoughtful discussion about their expectations and what success looks like.

— Alexandra Dickinson
CEO + founder

Ask Alex is our monthly advice series. CEO + Founder Alexandra Dickinson answers your most burning negotiation questions. Subscribe to our email list for more advice and content. We'd also love to hear from you! Submit your questions to


Alexandra Dickinson

Alexandra Dickinson is the CEO and founder of Ask For It, a boutique consulting company working to close the gender wage gap by effecting change at both the institutional and individual level. We work with companies, schools, organizations and individuals through a combination of trainings, workshops and consulting. Our goal is for women and men to be paid based on their talents and skills, regardless of gender, and for our company to have been an important part of that change.