5 Secrets to Surviving Job Interviews in Recovery

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Jim survived a three-year drug addiction. He made it through rehab. He even worked things out with his wife. After overcoming all this, the next hurdle he faced should have seemed easy, but it wasn’t.

Jim needed a job, and the thought of interviewing terrified him. What if they asked about his past? How could he explain the gaps in his employment? Should he tell them about his substance abuse and recovery?

So many questions and fears…

Secrets To a Successful Job Hunt

Jim isn’t alone. Looking for (and landing) a job is often a huge part of recovery. This process is already intimidating for most people, but for those in recovery, additional challenges tend to crop up.

If you’re in recovery and on the hunt for a job, try the following:

  • Embrace the Stress

    Did you know some stress can be positive? It motivates you to take action, maintain focus, and be more enthusiastic. So, accept that interviewing will involve some stress and then use it to your advantage. If it starts to feel overwhelming, try some relaxation techniques to calm yourself before the interview.

  • Prepare Your Answers

    You’re probably not psychic, so you can’t predict every question an interviewer will ask. But you can make an educated guess about a lot of them. Most interviews include standard questions. Rehearse your answers before each interview. Prepare examples from previous jobs or volunteer experiences to share. Be ready to talk about your personal strengths and what you can offer the company. This will help you avoid the deer-in-the-headlights look during the interview. Feeling more prepared should also reduce anxiety about the interview.

  • Do Your Research

    What do you know about your potential employer? Before your interview, make sure the answer to that question is: a lot. Be familiar with what the company stands for, how they’ve gotten where they are today, what their goals are, what their priorities are, etc. Bring yourself up to speed on any recent news in the company. You want to be able to speak intelligently about the organization. This will show interest, initiative and allow you to explain how you are a good fit for the business.

  • Boost Your Confidence

    Your battle with chemical dependency may have left your self-esteem in shambles. This can make “selling yourself” at a job interview tough. Remember, the goal is to focus on your positive attributes and what you can offer the company. Self-confidence in an interview goes a long way to making a good, lasting impression. Try writing down some of your strengths and skills. Take additional steps to increase your self-esteem.

  • Weigh the Consequences

    As the saying goes, honesty is the best policy. This holds true for disclosing information about your history with substance abuse. It’s never a good idea to lie in a job interview or on an application. However, if the subject doesn’t come up, you have the power to decide when and if that information should be disclosed. Every situation is different.



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