Don't Let ADHD Derail Your Job Search

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, poses significant challenges for sufferers, and the anxiety that often coexists with it makes the prospect of job-hunting especially daunting. When "what if" worries about what might go wrong crowd out thoughts about what might go right, even scheduling an interview is difficult. Pre-planning your search can take the edge off by helping you anticipate the most stressful aspects so that you can prepare for them.

Determine Your Best Fit

The most important factor in your search is to choose the right job. Fast-paced positions with lots of variation in day-to-date duties are especially well suited for workers with ADHD. Even in positions requiring intense focus, the variety keeps you from having to maintain it for too long. 

ADHD sufferers often work well in structured environments, especially when that structure supports work of high intensity, whether intellectual, creative or physical. The carefully defined procedures and deadlines inherent in structured workplaces give you a series of milestones in close proximity to each other, which makes it easier to get from one to the next.

Healthline suggests outside sales, mechanical work, construction, medicine and law enforcement as fields individuals with ADHD might consider, because these careers combine variation with structure. 

Preparing for the Interview

The more you know about the company you're applying to, the more smoothly conversation will flow during your interview. It's not just about showing the interviewer you've done your homework. Background knowledge also provides you with context for answering questions, thereby reducing stress and helping you focus. The company's website is the best source of information, and it's also helpful to search for news stories about the company to get additional insight.

Several career websites invite applicants to share their experiences. Not only do the applicants give their impressions of the interview process, but they also list specific questions they were asked. Although there's no guarantee you'll get the same questions, at the very least, you'll go in with a sense of the tone and direction you can expect the conversation to take.

When you schedule your interview, ask if you'll be required to take a test. Skills tests and aptitude assessments are nerve-wracking under the best circumstances, and being hit with one unexpectedly can derail you. If you will be tested and given aptitude questions, don't think in terms of passing or failing. That's not what the tests are for. They're designed to determine whether you're a good fit for the job, and they work to your benefit as much as they do to the employer's.

Consider whether you'll tell the interviewer that you suffer from ADHD. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires many employers to make reasonable accommodations for people suffering with psychiatric conditions that cause significant impairment in daily activities, but the employee must be able to carry out the duties of the job. Although it's understandable for you to fear your condition will be held against you, having the discussion at the interview gives you the benefit of knowing whether you're able to meet the job requirements. 

Job searches are tough for everyone, but the strain can be paralyzing for those suffering from ADHD. Choosing the right career path and preparing for the interview will give you an excellent chance at being chosen for and succeeding in your new job.