How to Ace Your Job Interview with ADHD

You are thrilled to have been selected for the job, but you are also concerned that your ADHD symptoms will cause problems. Explore these ADHD coaches’ suggestions to discover how to maintain composure, organization, and attention both before and during the interview.

You are aware that symptoms of ADHD might impact one’s ability to perform at work, but what about landing the job in the first place?

The capacity to intentionally and skillfully control ADHD symptoms and behaviors, such as impulsivity, emotional dysregulation, and overthinking and disorganization, could be crucial during a job interview. Develop the tactics you will need to be composed, concentrated, and prepared to ace the interview by using these professional recommendations.


First Job Interview Tip: Do not Ponder

An impending job interview could make you obsessive to the point of not getting enough sleep or neglecting what needs to get done right now. You might even lose yourself in daydreams about the interview or become overly fixated on something, like owning the ideal suit jacket. To avoid overthinking and over-preparing:

  • Record and reroute: As part of what he refers to as the “rule of one,” ADHD coach John Tucker, Ph.D., co-host of the “Differently Wired” podcast, suggests outlining your goals and worries in two distinct columns. Write your primary focus on one side. Write down everything else that comes to mind on the other side.

Once you have written down your worries, you may refocus on the tasks at hand. Recording your anxieties is crucial, according to Tucker, as “they will tease and harass you until they get addressed.”


Second Job Interview Tip: Make a Schedule and Checklist

Managing an intricate, multi-step application and interview process can be taxing on executive functioning and motivation. In order to expedite this procedure:

  • Employ checklists: To keep organized and prevent overwhelm, Dusty Chipura, an ADHD consultant based in Vancouver, suggests using a “physical checklist, not in a phone somewhere that you could forget to check.”


Tip #3 for Job Interviews: Control Your Anxiety and Rejection Delicate Dysphoria

Some applicants with rejection sensitive dysphoria (RSD) focus on upsetting prior rejections, which could interfere with upcoming interviews. That is where planning and understanding what you can (and cannot) control come into play, suggests ADHD coach Jay Reid of Tennessee.

  • Preparation and research: Reid advises, “…make notes of your questions for the selection committee, research the company and the role, and allow yourself to daydream about getting the job.” “After that, remind yourself that you have completed the task that was within your power when you begin to stray.”

  • Hydrate: Lynn Miner-Rosen, M.Ed., a Florida-based ADHD coach, offers an even easier fix: “Drink water! Anxiety often comes on because you are dehydrated.”


Tip #4 for Job Interviews: Do not Overshare

You probably have a wide range of abilities, and your enthusiasm and inner spark can be a wonderful asset to any company. However, talking too much during a job interview can distract from the actual work.

Over-sharing and over-explanation, according to Miner-Rosen, “occurs when people with ADHD have poor self-confidence, are surprised by the questions, or are so nervous that they forget what they planned to say.”

Throughout the interview, keep in mind the following tips to minimize communication pitfalls:

  • Rehearse: You can practice your responses by going to friends’ houses, ADHD support groups, or acting audition preparation websites. Reid suggests that repetition be an excellent strategy to reduce anxiety.

  • Make a note of: According to Miner-Rosen, using this method can help you think more slowly.

  • Have your responses ready: You might want to jot down potential responses in a notebook in advance. Regarding that, Tucker suggests that for Zoom interviews, you keep responses and prompts up next to your screen.

  • Make a note of it: Before your interview, Chipura suggests “having something that calls you back to yourself and reminds you of your aim of not oversharing” or setting a phone reminder. This might be a subtle reminder, such as a little mark on the inside of your wrist or a special piece of jewelry.

  • Bring a fidget: Miner-Rosen also suggests carrying a discrete device, such as a ring. Tucker suggests that the “ideal” object to fidget with is a pencil.

  • Breathe: Tucker says, “Remember to breathe out” to help your nervous system relax.


Tip #5 for Job Interviews: Be Aware of Resume Gaps

Your resume may include gaps. Here are a few viable methods to avoid them:

  • Practice: Miner-Rosen suggests that you consider your approach to discussing the gaps.

  • Swap viewpoints: Tucker suggests referring to it as a “gap year.” You might talk about your successes outside of work, such your travels or classes.

    • “Discuss about completed projects, volunteer work, taking care of family members, and gig-type employment you have held,” advises Miner-Rosen.

  • Refrain from becoming personal: When talking about the gaps, Miner-Rosen suggests keeping mental health issues out of the conversation.

  • Do not misrepresent employment gaps, but be prepared with a formal justification.

  • Modify the format of your resume: Think about organizing your resume in a combined functional and chronological structure, which arranges it chronologically by year and skill rather than by exact dates. Use bullet points and space to highlight the important jobs. You might find a lot of inspiration from the many free resume templates that are accessible online.

  • Seek assistance: If hiring a resume editor is out of your price range, consider using the services provided by your local Workforce Commission or an alumni association. Another excellent resource are support groups, such as Facebook groups or the local branch of CHADD. Salvation Army, AARP, Dress for Success, and other organizations also offer résumé assistance.


What to do if I am rejected after the job interview?

Focusing on the past mistakes can cause you to feel unworthy and hinder your progress. Here are some pointers for recuperation:


  • Have a depressing but limited day: Reid advises, “Allow yourself to feel as horrible as you need to for that specific amount of time.” “After that period of time is up, get moving by doing anything like folding laundry or cleaning your bathroom. You should move on from your ruminating thoughts when you engage in another task.

  • Acknowledge the mystery: According to Miner-Rosen, the employer may have chosen to fill another position first, gone internal, or hired someone they knew. There are many different reasons why we are turned down for jobs, and sometimes it is hard to figure out why.

  • Treat yourself to something lovely (and affordable): Tucker discourages drinking and self-medication. Alternatively, grab coffee with a pal. Alternatively, you may try dancing, baking, or watching your preferred TV series.

  • When venting to a friend, think about making notes so you may begin organizing your next course of action. Tucker states, “In other words, even if you are grieving within, you are already preparing your next venture.” “This could be a project for you.”

  • Preserve your self-care: You may still develop habits and routines that support your physical well-being, such as a regular sleep schedule and nutritious diet, even if you do not have a job. According to Tucker, “living a healthy lifestyle will give you a stronger feeling of agency,” which may give you the courage to carry on with your search.

  • Network: You do not always need to use recruiters and headhunters to find employment. Friends, former instructors, neighborhood associations, and other people in your circle should all be contacted because, as Miner-Rosen puts it, “you never know who they know.”

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