5 Helpful Tips to Approaching a Job Interview During Recovery

You may have heard that you shouldn’t make any major life changes in the first year of recovery, but in your first year and beyond there may be many reasons you find yourself in a job interview.  Maybe you do not have a job to go back to, maybe the time is right for a change; whatever the reason, here are some helpful tips to make the most of your job interview during recovery.

1. Prepare

Just as you practice driving before you get your license, you want to know the rules of the road and practice before a job interview.  Here are three key areas of preparation:

  • Research: know the company, find out as much as you can about it, its leadership and mission, and why you would want to be a part of what they are doing. Most executives (and hiring managers) want you to care about their mission, even if you are just sorting the mail or sweeping the floors.  If possible, also research the person who will conduct your interview.
  • Practice: have a friend pretend to interview you. Practice what you will say until you feel relaxed and comfortable answering common interview questions.
  • Look: take a look at what data is available about you on the internet. Google yourself.  Review the privacy settings on your social media accounts.  Make sure you know what is on your criminal record.  You research where you will work, and they will likely research you.

2. Be Honest

One should always be honest in an interview.  Most information you would provide is also verifiable.  They will contact your references and verify your credentials, your criminal record, etc.

That being said, there’s a balance to find between honesty and oversharing.  If you have lapses in employment or were fired for substance-related reasons, be prepared to honestly answer the pieces that you need to, and tactfully avoid anything you do not legally need to answer.  Remember that something once said, cannot be retracted.

3. Be Confident

Addiction can take a toll on your self-esteem, and so you may undervalue your skills and employability.  Try to see yourself the way someone would from the outside, and be confident in what you know.

It’s also important to not seem defensive or cocky, so find the place where you feel comfortably confident (or at least seem that way for an interview).

4. Put Your Best Foot Forward

You may have heard “dress for success.”  Another way to say that is: dress for the job you want, not the job you have.  You want to look your best, arrive on time (15 minutes early is on time for a job interview, any more could seem overly eager), and be prepared for anything.

These days it is not uncommon to meet over coffee for an interview or have a working interview where you perform tasks (sometimes intentionally under pressure) as part of the interview process.  Maintain that confidence and professionalism you practiced.

5. Interview Them

When you are at an interview, you are also there to see if the job would be a good fit for you.  Will the atmosphere suit you?  Are the working conditions tolerable?  Do they stand by their mission?

Without seeming to question or interrogate the person or people conducting your interview, you can also get them to tell you about themselves.  How long have they worked there?  What do they like about their job?

Stable income, a predictable schedule, and work you enjoy can be helpful components of a successful recovery.

Good luck!

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