You, ADHD and the Dreaded Job Interview
Job interviews can be stressful for anyone and for those of us with ADHD these stressors are often magnified. Here's a few tips to help you prepare.
Going on a job interview can be a stressful prospect for anyone. And for those of us with ADHD the stressors are often magnified. The very nature of job interviews sometimes seems to work against some common symptoms of the ADHD. Forgetfulness, impulsivity, distractibility, and challenges interacting under certain pressures can make the job interview process extremely daunting.
AND with proper self-assessment and self-management strategies, anyone with ADHD can succeed in an interview regardless of their perceived weaknesses. Understanding your ADHD symptoms and preparing for the interview are key steps to making the process a successful one.
Here are some helpful self-management tips to consider for your next job interview.
1. Have confidence in yourself and use your ADHD to your advantage
Individuals with ADHD may experience high levels of stress in interviews, including fears that their ADHD symptoms may cost them a shot at a career. This example is a good scenario where changing your attitude and exuding confidence in your abilities can make a significant difference. (1)
Many of us are thrown by a common first request in interviews: “Tell me a little about yourself.” It’s one of those broad, opened-ended questions that can evoke a “deer in the headlights” kind of response. Instead of freezing in that moment, you can prepare for the question by developing some relevant examples for a response ahead of time. For instance, you can look for clues to certain attributes that relate to what you’ve learned about the position or as stated in the job description posting.
Other examples of highly desired attributes that many individuals with ADHD include:
• Resiliency: emphasize this quality’s connection to your unique problem-solving skills
• Emotion/empathy: point out the importance of being able to see and understand both sides of a situation
• Sense of humor: highlight your ability to diffuse situations with humor or use humor to build relationships with colleagues and clients
• Positive-hyperfocus: discuss how this trait has resulted in quantifiable successes
• Creativity: emphasize your ability to look at projects from angles that others might not think of
2. Research the company
Go to the company’s website and educate yourself on its mission and history. Investigate competitors’ sites or contact people who are familiar within the business or industry. Get caught up on recent press coverage of the company as well.
Be sure to set reasonable time frames for online research, so your ADHD doesn’t promote unfocused or distracted searching. (2)
3. Think positively
Adults with ADHD benefit when they develop positive attitudes and actively make an effort to recognize and question negative thoughts. Tools like visualization and positive self-talk and meditations before the interview can encourage a confident mindset, a quality that your interviewer will notice as well.
4. Be aware of your nonverbal cues
ADHD can also involve difficulties with certain social and interpersonal skills. During the interview, try to remain aware of yourself by moving, walking and sitting deliberately and mindfully. Make and retain comfortable eye contact, and speak in even and relaxed tones. Remember, the more relaxed and comfortable you can be, the more relaxed and comfortable your interviewer will be as well!
5. Use active listening skills
Listening can sometimes be challenging, so in a job interview, you may find it difficult to listen to what the interviewer actually says. We can sometimes try to focus on what to say next, and miss what the interviewer is actually saying. Remember, good listening lays a foundation for a good connection!
6. Ask questions
Develop a few questions to ask during the interview and practice them beforehand. Consider asking questions that you may have about the company, the position, the manager, and co-workers. But save inquiries about salary and other compensation until you have a clear understanding of the scope of the job.
With proper planning and preparation, and a positive, confident attitude, an individual that happens to have ADHD can absolutely succeed in job interviews. An diagnosis of ADHD does not have to equal difficulties with an interviewing process. Have confidence in yourself and your abilities; listen and connect with your interviewers, and discover how positive your next interview can be!
Mark Julian is a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, a Senior Business Counselor, Best Selling Author and ADHD Specialist. He serves startup and veteran business-owners with ADD and other brain-type differences. Mark provides mentoring and results-driven coaching to today’s new-breed of business builders.