Attending a Job Interview in Recovery

Facing Stressful Events in Recovery

Escaping an addiction does not mean that a person’s life is going to become easier. Giving up alcohol and drugs will greatly improve their situation, but they will still have to face the challenges of recovery just like everyone else. The good news is that if they have developed the right coping skills and have built a strong sobriety they will have no problem overcoming future challenges. One of the stressful events that many people will be faced with in recovery will be the job interview.

The Need for Job Interviews in Recovery

When people become sober, they will usually have to make many changes to their life. Their old way of doing things is no longer appropriate. One of the aspects of their life that many people end up changing is their job. These are some of the leading reasons a person would change their job:

* Even a high-functioning addict can do a great deal of damage to their career, especially in the final days of their addiction. Once they become sober, the individual may decide that the relationship between them and their employer is unsalvageable. Even though the person is now sober, others may continue to judge them based on their past actions. Sometimes, the best option will be to start afresh somewhere new.
* Some addicts do so much damage to their career that they are now unemployed. This means that they will need to seek a new job once they become sober.
* People in recovery may decide that their current career no longer suits them. Their previous job may have suited them as an addict but now that they are sober it no longer feels right. They may decide that a change of direction is required.
* Some careers may not be appropriate for people who are trying to build a sober life. For example, if the individual is recovering from an alcohol addiction, they may decide that managing a bar involves too much temptation. People on the path to sobriety can also feel uncomfortable about being involved in work that involves unethical behavior.
* When people are in the midst of their addiction they may be happy enough to just bob along in their career. Once they become sober their ambition can skyrocket and their current job might no longer be enough for them.

The Need to Avoid Major Changes in the First Year of Sobriety

Going to job interviews and changing careers would be considered highly stressful events. It is generally recommended that people avoid making any major changes to their life within the first year of recovery. This is because they will already have enough stress in their life as they adjust to sobriety. If they take on other major changes then this could all prove too much for them and it might drive them to relapse. It is also the case that it takes a couple of years for the sober individual to better understand themselves. This means that they may later regret the decisions that they made in early recovery.

In many instances, the individual will not have the option to delay making major life changes in the first year. Financial considerations may mean that they need seek employment as soon as possible. If this is the situation then it is possible to manage the stressful event so that it does not derail recovery. So long as the individual has plenty of support and feels strong, they should be able to cope with the transition to new employment.

Types of Job Interview

Job interviews can be conducted using a variety of different formats. It is a great advantage to know the type of format that is going to be used as this will make it easier to prepare. These are among the most common interview types:

* A structured interview is one where the interviewer has a set list of questions that they will ask each candidate.
* Lunch and dinner interviews are where the interviewer brings the candidate out for a meal. The aim here is to discover how they will react in this type of social situation. This type of interview might be used when considering candidates for a job that involves entertaining clients.
* The unstructured interview is probably the most difficult to prepare for. This is because the interviewer will usually ask questions in response to the answers they are given. There is no set list of questions.
* A panel interview is where the candidate is interviewed by a group of people.
* A group interview refers to a situation where a number of candidates are interviewed at the same time. The term group interview can also be sometimes used to refer to the panel interview.
* Behavioral interviews involve creating employment related situations to see how the candidate will cope.

How to Deal with a Job Interview in Recovery

Preparation is the key for success when going for job interviews. The following considerations can help a person feel less stressed on the day of the interview:

* A common dilemma that people face when applying for a new job is whether or not they should admit to their previous problems with addiction. There is no easy solution to this dilemma. The Twelve Step program recommends rigorous honesty, which would suggest that it is best to be open about the former addiction. On the other hand, volunteering such information can pose significant career risks. Even if the employer offers the job, a history of addiction could affect future relationships. The decision to tell or not to tell is a personal one that each individual in recovery will need to make for themselves. It is worth keeping in mind that once the information has been revealed it cannot be taken back.
* A certain degree of stress is positive can have a positive effect on job interview performance. It keeps the individual focused, which makes them appear enthusiastic. It is only when this stress becomes overwhelming that it becomes a real problem. People can avoid becoming too stressed by practicing relaxation techniques and taking it easy before the interview. Sometimes, the interviewer will deliberately try to make the situation more stressful so as to see how the candidate will cope.
* It is important to think about how to answer the questions in advance. It may not be possible to prepare for every question the interviewer asks, but it is strongly recommended that people prepare for the most obvious ones. It looks bad in an interview if a candidate is stumped by a simple question such as, Why do you want to work here? or Why did you leave your last job?” If a the candidate’s work history has been compromised by addiction, extra time needs to allotted to prepare for these questions.
* Most interviewers will expect candidates to run with the questions. Brief responses might not be acceptable. It is particularly important to give considerate responses to questions concerning the candidate’s own personality and attributes.
* It is best to avoid giving irrelevant information during an interview, as this comes off as waffling. Instead, the candidate should focus on information that is relevant to the job.
* A common mistake that people make when applying for a job is failing to fully research the company where they want to work. It is vital that candidates do their homework before they turn up to an interview. It can also be helpful to check the recent news reports to see if there are any important developments in the industry that might be mentioned in the interview.
* It is never a good idea to lie at a job interview. Mistruths can come back to haunt the applicant, and they may later be used as a reason for dismissal. The candidate wants to sell themselves in the most positive light possible, but they should not need to lie in order to accomplish this. Dishonest behavior can prevent people in recovery from developing emotional sobriety. It is too much like the addict’s way of dealing with life.
* Addiction tends to rob people of their self-esteem. This means that people can struggle when it comes time to sell themselves in an interview situation. Their lack of confidence may be noticeable and this will prevent the employer from offering them the job. There are measures people can take to increase their self-esteem. It may be helpful to spend some before the interview writing down some of their own positive attributes.

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