Going to a job interview is never easy, especially if you know you have an ADHD-wired brain. Having ADHD certainly presents some challenges, but it also offers some incredible advantages. No matter on what level you are managing your ADHD, you probably experienced both sides of this condition. Going to a job interview with the knowledge of having ADHD, you can approach it from a mindset of deficit or a mindset of strength. Capitalizing on your strengths will increase your confidence, your presence and your ability to connect with the other person.
Most interviews will open with the question ‘Why don’t you tell me a little bit about yourself?’ Many candidates find it difficult to respond because this question leaves a wide range of answers. It can be very different for someone with ADHD, because they might be spurred into idea generating and brainstorming. This often can be overwhelming for another person involved in the conversation. The trick is to apply these skills before going to the interview and not while being in the interview. Developing several key stories that could be relevant to the recruiter and practicing these will give you the ability to deliver with poise and confidence.
Showing Confidence at a Job Interview
Recruiters do like to hear stories about important accomplishments. Having ADHD gives you resilience, a unique problem solving skill as well as hyper-focus which often translates into great successes. Try to find stories around your accomplishments that highlight these benefits of ADHD.
The creativity and ability to look at something from different angles is very unique to the ADHD-wired brain. Putting yourself ‘in someone else’s shoes’ gives you a sense of compassion and the advantage to deal with conflict. According to a study over 80% of people in the workplace avoid conflict. Not so for someone with ADHD, it is very easy for them to look at the mutuality of the conflict.
Last but not least a great sense of humor is very typical for ADHD. Not only can people with ADHD deliver funny jokes, but they can be very creative and unique about it. Jokes, metaphors or stories in general activate all parts of our brain, and can advance relationships at work. Who does not like the person who can make a tasteful joke in a situation that had gone awry. Using your sense of humor in the right dosage in an interview can tap into a part of the recruiter he might not want to show in an interview, but it will have no less of an impact.
When the classic interview question will be asked about your weaknesses, be confident, because if you did prepare yourself and come from a strength mindset, weakness has less power over you. At this point of the interview you displayed already a great deal of strength, and even if you want to admit to a part of you that shows weakness, let the recruiter know that you are working on this weakness and point out the many creative ways you are tackling this challenge.
More than anything else, people with ADHD are always on the quest for the ‘Why’s. If the question in the interview arises about why you want to work in this industry, the ADHD-wired brain will know what to say by heart. Not only have they researched every aspect of the industry, but their passion and sense of conviction shines through every word they say. Don’t hold back on that part, because if you are passionate about the job or the industry, you’ll connect on a much deeper level with the recruiter giving meaning to his work in the company.
Dealing with ADHD can be overwhelming and a struggle, but it also provides abilities and skills that are unique. Rather than giving into the frustration that comes with ADHD, be open to explore the strengths, capitalize on these and you will very well discover how unique you are.
Elke Weiss is a conflict coach and supports clients in preparing a difficult conversation or managing a dispute. Using her strength and value-based approach she helped many entrepreneurs who often display ADHD.