If you are neurodivergent, interviews can be daunting and if you encounter an interviewer who doesn't understand your condition, it can be frustrating and even anxiety-provoking. However, there are steps you can take to educate the interviewer and ensure that they understand your needs and abilities, whilst also heading into your interview with the right preparation and mindset, so you can ace your next interview and impress potential employers.
Here are some tips to help anyone, regardless of their neurodivergence, succeed in interviews.
In short, the key to succeeding in an interview if you are neurodivergent is to own your narrative, prepare ahead of time, focus on your strengths, and be yourself. By following these tips, you can impress potential employers and land the job of your dreams.
First, it's important to remember that not everyone is familiar with neurodivergence, and doesn’t necessarily mean the interviewer isn’t open to learning about it. Take this as an opportunity to educate them and help them understand your condition.
One way to do this is to explain your neurodivergence in simple and positive terms, which means focussing on what you can do. For example, you could say something like, "I have ADHD, which means I work best in short bursts of intense productivity. I have developed strategies to maximise this and manage my symptoms to excel in my work." This will help the interviewer understand your condition and how it might impact your performance on the job.
Another tip is to share examples of how you have successfully navigated your neurodivergence in the past. For example, you could talk about how you plan your days/weeks to boost your productivity, how you have used technology to help you stay organized, or how you have worked with a mentor or coach to develop strategies for managing your symptoms. This will help the interviewer see that you are capable and resilient, despite your neurodivergence.
It's also a good idea to be open and honest about your needs and accommodations. If you require certain accommodations in order to perform your best, don't be afraid to let the interviewer know. For example, you could say something like, "I have found that I work best when I have regular breaks and a quiet workspace. Can you tell me more about the accommodations your company offers for neurodivergent employees?"
Overall, the key to handling an interviewer who doesn't understand your neurodivergence is to educate them, share examples of your success, and be open about your needs and accommodations. By doing so, you can help the interviewer understand your condition and show them that you are a capable and valuable candidate.
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