Rambling in interviews (jumbled thoughts)

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    • #115593

      I have tremendous difficulty organising and prioritising my thoughts, which makes it hard for me to communicate clearly and succinctly sometimes. I’m not sure if this trait is specific to ADHD. I’ve tried writing down key points, but sometimes it’s still hard for me to articulate these ideas in a linear fashion. Would you have some strategies to overcome this because it affects my interviews, my writing in cover letters… etc. Would meds help in organising these thoughts?

    • #115668

      I don’t have an answer but can relate. I had an interview today and felt like I rambled a lot and talked too fast. I know I do this and my goal was to be better this time. Nope. Lol.

    • #115856

      Hi Norah,

      You can try to download a list of common interview questions and ask someone you know to pick a few questions.

      Practice writing examples of how you will answer those questions like what are your strengths/weaknesses and having practice face to face interviews from 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes and try to increase the time. Try to relate the answer to the role you’re applying for.

      Another method is when you feel like you’re going into rambling mode, maybe pause and ask the interviewer something related to the job or company.

      Lastly, you can also try taking those personality and career quiz that analyze and explain your strength and weaknesses , or google a list of soft and hard related skills for the job to find the words for it. I copied and pasted a few relevant sentences into an excel table into 1 column, and wrote an example in the next column.

      Eg: Leadership / interpersonal skills
      – being friendly an approachable, someone people want to work with and confident enough to speak their mind with me.

      If you like, I can also practice with you and give some feedback.


    • #115872
      Dr. Eric

      I always do 2 things for my interviews.

      I come in with a portfolio with some discreet bullet point reminders and key points (that would not be bad if someone else read, I sometimes use code words).

      I either take a half-dose or try to time my meds starting to wear off for the interview.

      I focus well when fully medicated, but I feel that it kills my personality.

      I need both focus and personality in an interview.

      • #121462

        This is really great advice.

    • #115975
      Penny Williams

      Here are some great strategies for job interviews when you have ADHD:

      Acing the Job Interview

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

    • #121425

      I’m not convinced meds help a ton with organized thinking, but I do take them and do feel I’d be worse off without them.

      And I must tell you that I have the exact same problem — rambling in interviews — and for me it is absolutely because I, too, have difficulty organizing and prioritizing my thoughts (definitely an ADHD trait). I think Nicole’s suggestions are terrific, especially the practicing part.

      In my field (senior executive management), the questions in interviews tend to mostly be behavioral (“tell me about a time when you X”). I know that in preparation, I need to concisely write down between five and ten examples that will best answer the questions I anticipate (based on the job requirements, and other research) that I will be asked, and I do so. But I practice verbally delivering what I’ve painstakingly put together far too little, because for some reason, practicing drives me crazy. I have no patience for it.

      I like Nicole’s time increment idea, and I’m going to try that.

      So…Norah, you are very much not alone! Thank you for sharing, and Nicole, thank you for your suggestions!

    • #121536

      Hi Norah, I see you posted in April and perhaps you have gotten a great job by now! I hope so.
      There have been some good suggestions here. As others have said, almost all interviewers ask similar questions, so have a basic answer for each (tell me about a problem you solved? about a success? etc.) Here are a couple of things to keep in mind: silence is OK, pauses are OK, and you don’t need to give five-minute answers. Just as important are making eye contact, smiling and not overly fidgeting.
      Many people cannot think “in the moment”, so it’s ok to pause for a second or two.
      Norah, can I ask: is your perception of being unable to organize your thoughts limited to interviews, or has it also affected you in other jobs or at school? Some people become very nervous at silence and seek to fill any gap of silence with a cough, giggle, or “rambling”. Some become nervous if they feel that attention is focused on them, such as when an interviewer or a co-worker is looking at you waiting for an answer, or you’re a meeting and all eyes are on you.
      If any of this rings true, and if your circumstances allow, I might suggest trying some sessions with a therapist to learn and practice some strategies (and it does, absolutely, take practice and constant reminders to yourself, but I’m here to say that change will eventually happen). But, apart from that, learn to project confidence in other ways. Sit up straight, but be relaxed. Smile. Smile (inwardly, outwardly). Give yourself a pep talk on your way to the interview (“I’m perfect for this job.” “I’ve got this.” List positive points about yourself.)

    • #121765
      Uncle Dharma

      I have been interviewing for a few years.

      Take in notes, or at least the key points that you want to talk about. Do NOT read out a page full of notes!

      You can ask for the question to be repeated. The interviewer often rephrases the question – a small advantage to you.
      also, it gives you time to think and compose your answer.
      If the question does not make sense, or if it is ambiguous, ask for clarification.

      I have worked as a trainer, so sometimes I ‘present a training course on the topic’ Not a good idea.

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