job interview hell

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    • #51638

      Hello – 24 years old and recently diagnosed.

      Im about to finish my masters degree and after my undergrad (I wasnt intending to do a masters) I applied for full time jobs. Had no luck, jobs I was more than qualified for. I had about 20 job interviews for professional positions and oh my god. I was a mess. I couldn’t focus on their questions so had to ask them to repeat it (sometimes two or three times), I rambled, I made no eye contact, I talked too much. I made inappropriate jokes (nothing SMUTTY I just mean like, I was myself). Feedback was always the same, flawless application but atrocious interview – I came across as unprofessional and they highly doubted my ability to do the job.

      I can do group interviews fine, and always sail through them – so finding part time retail work etc alongside my studies has always been easy.

      Reaching the end of my masters now and keep seeing jobs I’d like to apply for but I just cant bare the thought of a professional interview. Before diagnosis, I always thought it was just a lack of preparation or something. but now I know it’s actually a thing I feel so much worse as I know i’ll probably always act like that in interviews.

      Has anyone else gone through this and have any advice?

    • #51655
      Penny Williams

      Stress and anxiety can cause all sorts of behaviors, often unwanted. I’m wondering if a job coach could help you with interview skills — some sort of training for interviews…

      Acing the Job Interview

      Interview Stress

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #51705

      Hi, here are some tips. I’m a career counselor, have ADD, and also am not a very good interviewer 🙂

      Practice, practice, practice. Google a list of frequently asked questions and develop good answers, using only 4 or 5 sentences to answer the question. We are prone to ramble, so by preparing answers ahead of time and organizing our thoughts you’ll be less likely to do so.

      Pause before you launch into answering a question, put your thoughts together first.

      ALWAYS be prepared for the “tell me about yourself”, which often is one of the first questions asked. It’s easy to ramble on this question, so develop an “elevator speech” type of answer, a summary of your qualifications for the position, that you can express in just a few sentences.

      Develop 5 or six stories about yourself that are examples of your “soft skills”. Again, keep the stories short and organized. These stories can be used reply to those difficult questions, such as “tell me about how you solved a problem” “give me an example of how you are a team player”. Practice, practice, practice.

      This may not work for everyone, but it helps me if I write down those stories and answers. The process of writing them down helps to plant them in my brain.

      Practice by yourself, practice with another person, use a career counselor from your college or hire a career coach to do a “mock interview” and get feedback. The more you practice, the less anxiety you will feel before and during the interview.

      It’s OK to ask an interviewer to repeat a question, once, maybe twice….but no more!

      If you start off answering a question and get off track, say “sorry, I’m rambling a bit, may I start over again?”

    • #51709
      Uncle Dharma

      My ADD means that I don’t always interview very well.
      A few years ago, I started to work as a scribe – the person who takes notes and writes up the report.
      Now I know what a good interviewee is, but still find it difficult sometimes. Prepare well and in advance.
      Because I now know how to run an interview, I start critiquing a bad interviewer in my mind. Don’t do this. Change your focus to the questions and the topics.

      Prepare by anticipating as many questions as you can. You cannot anticipate Every Possible question, so prepare background material on every topic.
      You should have a good reply prepared for the “why are you good for this job” type of question.
      Prepare a short summary of relevant experience. It must be short but still cover the main relevant points.
      Have your examples and stories thought out. Writing them down is a good way to make sure they make sense, and can make it easier to remember them.
      DO NOT talk about any failures. These can be presented – if relevant – as times that you learned to cope with the problem.
      “The team had some problems with … and we solved them by ….”
      better : “The team saw an opportunity to improve …. and we did it by …”
      Be prepared to discuss any examples, and be honest about what went wrong and how you managed to solve those issues. Your ability to solve a problem is rated very highly – higher than ‘just doing the same old thing’.
      Take examples of your work if you can, and keep them relevant. Take the URLs of web sites that you have written. This should have been in your application.

      It is quite acceptable to take notes into an interview. Do not sit and read a page of waffle. Just a list of topics should be enough to prompt you.

      DO NOT talk about some awful job or an awful manager in the past.

      Prepare a few replies to “Do you have any questions?” As this is usually at the end of the interview, you need to write a note to remind yourself.
      If you really have a more complete answer to a question that you didn’t answer very well, you can give a better answer now. “I just remembered about when I ….”
      This is an opportunity to ask about something that you are an expert in, and tell them of your skills as if they asked one more question. “Wow, and what about that web site expert. Does anyone else have those skills?” and now you have added a criteria that may put you above other people.
      DO NOT ASK ABOUT THE PAY, unless they ask you. This can be negotiated when they offer you the job.
      Ask about the future. “Is there a chance to work in …..” and mention an area of work that interests you.

      Relax by getting an interview at a time that suits you. I prefer about 10 or 11 in the morning, as this avoids the morning rush. It gives you time to relax, to dress in nice comfortable clothes (that are appropriate of course), to imagine yourself arriving (as if you are walking up the red carpet), to imagine presenting yourself to them.
      Relax so that you can remember things easily. If you get stressed it is harder to remember, and this is why you take notes into the interview.
      Do not cram just before the interview. Do that the day before. You may want to read over your notes.

      Arrive relaxed and be your beautiful self.

      • This reply was modified 4 years, 7 months ago by Uncle Dharma. Reason: clarity
    • #51760

      Stress and ADHD is a crazy combination. I remember some of my early interviews — I was so petrified everything flew from my mind, and I couldn’t answer the simplest question. What I learned:
      1) Prepare, as the other posts stated. Go through lists of typical questions and think of answers. Think of three strengths and situations where you used these strengths. Feel free to throw some of the prepared answers to the interviewer even if you are not sure they fit. It’s better than being at a loss for words. Surprise has always been my enemy in terms of coherence.
      2) Never interrupt the interviewer. Sometimes we attempt to answer questions before they are finished, then realize we did not in fact understand it. Maintaining eye contact and reducing fidgeting will help, but if this is one too many things to keep in mind, relax. Some nervousness is expected.
      3) Joking… that is a complicated issue. I know ADHD people who joke by default when nervous, so saying “do not joke” may be equivalent to telling them “do not sweat”. So I don’t know if thinking in terms of “not joking” is helpful. I will say to listen to the interviewer and try to give a short and factual answer to his question, without elaborating. If he wants clarification he will ask. Do not explain, just state facts.
      4) What helped me the most is to keep in mind that the interview is a two-way street. The interviewer wants to find out if we are a good fit for the company, and we want to find out if the company is a good fit for us. And by that I don’t mean salary. Ask about the company culture — what is the motto of the company and how it inspires its every day dealings, do they participate in off work projects (volunteering, marathons etc.) as a company, do they seek to have a presence in the community, how is overtime handled (a diplomatic way to ask if it is expected) etc. Ask whatever is important for you, not because you feel you have to ask questions. See how the interviewer reacts to minor questions — is it a place where everything is top down, or do employees have input? A big part of the nervousness is that we feel put on the spot, and that somebody else has all the power. But companies look for good people also, and somebody with a master’s degree is expected to have a certain amount of critical thinking and personal goals.

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