ADHD Professionals: How to Prepare for Your Next Job Interview

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Veronica Yao

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by Veronica Yao

Dreading your next in-person interview? You’re not alone. Many neurodivergent professionals, especially those with ADHD, would rather fix a broken toilet than go through job interviews.

Why? Job interviews involve lots of social cues, which many people with ADHD struggle with. It’s not always something they can improvise on the spot – in fact, these meetings require a ton of effort and preparation from the job seeker. Because of this, many neurodivergent individuals avoid job hunting, even when the alternative is staying in a toxic work environment.

Job interviews may not ever become your favourite activity, but knowing what to expect and how to prepare can make a huge difference for you in the long run. Not to mention, it’s an important skill to have for a successful career!

Why Are Job Interviews Difficult for People with ADHD?

The average person may experience stress and anxiety leading up to a job interview. But for professionals with ADHD, overcoming nerves is just a small part of the battle. People with ADHD typically struggle with impulse control. They can be impulsive by nature, and their brains are often either overstimulated with activity or understimulated.

While these qualities can be useful in certain scenarios, they’re often considered big roadblocks when it comes to job hunting.

Let’s explore the factors:

Maintaining attention

Job interviews require intense focus. Interviewees need to be attentive when engaging with the interviewer and respond accordingly. This can be especially challenging for ADHD professionals, who may miss important details in the conversation despite their efforts to pay attention.

Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) is also a factor to consider. This is a common condition among neurodivergent individuals that can make it difficult for the brain to make sense of sounds, especially in distracting or overstimulating environments.


People with ADHD tend to have impulsive personalities. This can be great when it comes to creativity in the workplace, brainstorming, and much more. But in an interview setting, impulsivity can present itself as rambling, interrupting the interviewer, or providing answers that you haven’t fully thought through.

Because of this, ADHD professionals may feel self-conscious about expressing themselves, and feel the need to hold themselves back in an interview setting.

Executive Dysfunction

Neurodivergent professionals often need to prepare for job interviews – after all, not everyone is comfortable winging it! But executive dysfunction, also known as task paralysis, can get in the way of preparation. Especially if job interviews are something you dread.

ADHD professionals will need to use external motivators to ensure they thoroughly prepare for their interview. Easier said than done, right?

Time blindness

ADHD professionals are all too familiar with this phenomenon. Whether you’re overestimating the amount of time a task will take, or underestimating it so you have to rush through it.

Time blindness can impact your performance in a job interview. Perhaps you rush through answers, or ramble on with long, overly-detailed answers. People who experience time blindness are also more likely to lose track of time, or show up to an interview late.


It is common for neurodivergent people to “mask” their personalities and hide traits about themselves to fit in with a neurotypical crowd.

Masking too often leads to stress and burnout, so it’s no wonder ADHD professionals dread the performances they have to put on for employers in order to secure a job. Many people with ADHD say that job interviews feel “fake” and “performative”, and struggle with meeting expectations for social cues.

8 Ways ADHD Professionals Can Prepare for Their Next Job Interview

1. Set up external motivators

Most ADHD professionals experience executive dysfunction and time blindness, so they can’t rely on internal motivators to get things done. That’s why it’s so important to set up external motivators when preparing for your interview. 

Start by setting achievable goals. These goals should be small, attainable steps that you can complete without overwhelming yourself. Once you’ve determined these goals, set up external motivators. These might be visual reminders, like written notes. Setting periodic alarms to keep yourself on schedule is also a great tactic.

2. Bring a notebook

A pen and a pad of paper can be an absolute lifesaver in an interview scenario. Especially when you might struggle with paying attention or processing verbal information from the interviewer.

Worried about rambling or oversharing during your response? Write down the interviewer’s question in your notebook as they say it. Use this as a visual reminder to keep your answer concise and on-topic. This method is also helpful if you tend to forget interview questions halfway through your answer!

3. Highlight your strengths

Remember that ADHD isn’t just about the challenges we face. There are superpowers that come with the territory as well.

Talk about your creativity and ability to think outside the box. Perhaps you perform well under pressure and tight deadlines, or you have the ability to hyperfocus on certain tasks. These qualities are your competitive edge against other candidates.

4. Don’t forget to pause

When you’re anxious in a job interview, it may be tempting to fill any quiet moment with a response. Remember that it’s okay to let the room breathe; it’s okay to pause between sentences and take time to think of your next response.

5. Avoid oversharing

Oversharing is one of the most common pitfalls for ADHD professionals, especially when it comes to job interviews. If this is a tendency of yours, practice sticking to “professional” topics, and avoid sharing details from your personal life.

Remember that the purpose of every interview response should underscore why you are the ideal candidate for the position.

6. Practice hard questions

While some interview questions will be straightforward, other questions have hidden meanings.

For example, “Tell me about your greatest weakness” is a common question interviewers use to assess how self-aware their candidates are, and how they overcome challenges.

Too many neurodivergent professionals, these feel like “trick questions” because the answer the employer expects to hear is not a direct response to the question.

Other challenging questions you may want to prepare yourself for are:

  • Could you please explain this employment gap?
  • Tell me about a time you experienced a conflict at work.

7. Watch for nonverbal cues

Nonverbal cues, like facial expressions and body language, are another form of communication that neurodivergent professionals need to manage.

When in an interview, remember to make eye contact to indicate you are engaged in the conversation. Remember to signal acknowledgement during conversation (smiling, nodding), and remember to read the facial expressions of the interviewer while you are responding.

8. Bring a fidget item

If you have trouble sitting still, bring an inconspicuous item like a pencil that you can quietly fidget with, without distracting from the conversation at hand.

Are you neurodivergent and burnt out at work?

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