Some tips for finding a job when you have ADD/ADHD
Two of the biggest problems that anyone with ADHD faces are staying organized and finishing tasks. So the prospect of looking for a new job is often enough to send us into a tailspin. How can we possibly pull things together well enough to knock out the competition that's out there also looking for a job in this economy? In my last thirty years, I've learned a fair amount about finding a job with ADHD (sometimes the hard way) so I thought I'd share some of the most helpful points.
Be very, very organized.
Don't find as you're leaving to go to your interview that the copy of your resume you're bringing is the wrong one. At least two days ahead of time, make a list of what you need with you when you walk out the door on the way to your interview. Do you have a clean, appropriate outfit? Do you have directions to the location? Check the list after you've made it to see what you need to take care of. Check it the night before. Check it again the morning of your interview. And check it as you're walking out the door. Don't count on getting everything organized mentally. Write it down and check it over and over.
Prepare your answers to interview questions. Sometimes we ADHD-ers figure we'll just wing it. After all, we can be at our most engaging and persuasive when we do. But being charming is often not enough to get you the job. Potential employers usually are looking for facts and figures, and for you to give them concrete examples to questions such as, "Can you give me an example of a time that you went the extra mile?" While getting ready to interview for my current job, for the first time in my professional life, I wrote down all the standard questions and multiple responses for each one. Take a look at the book 301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions for some guidance.
Also, make sure that you have some questions of your own to ask. Prepare the questions and possible follow-up questions. Even if you don't actually have any questions, you need to ask at least one. I know that I've lost at least one potential job due to not being prepared for this. I could tell by the expression on the interviewer's face that everything had changed when I said that I had no questions. A book that might be helpful is 201 Best Questions to Ask on Your Interview.
What about honesty?
Should you come out and be honest about your ADHD and the possibility you might need accommodations? My answer would be a resounding no. Legally, you can't be rejected for a job due to your ADHD, but good luck proving that was the reason you weren't hired. I hate to be cynical, but in this job market and with this amount of competition, why would an employer choose someone they might have to accommodate over someone they won't (at least, that they're aware of).