One day, soon after I received my graduate degree, I received a call from a hiring manager at American Express Corporation. They wanted to interview me for a “Communications Director” position. I had a background in communications, a graduate business degree, and lots of training on how to handle myself on an interview. Piece of cake, right? We scheduled a 60 minutes phone interview for a few days later. I did my homework: rehearsed my spill about my skills, read up on the company, had my resume memorized. When the call came, I froze. I was unable of verbalizing a single coherent answer. “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”, “Huh, I want to huh… grow… yeah, grow”. Seriously? I felt embarrassed as I said those words, and many others that did not make sense to me and I am sure did not make sense to them. The interview was cut short at 20 minutes and I knew there was no way I would get the job. A few days later on a follow up call I asked for the hiring manager’s feedback, and he said “When we looked at your resume we thought you were over qualified for the job, but when we were on the phone it sounded like it was someone else we were speaking to”. Sigh.
Situations like that repeated themselves several times during my professional career, in fact, I have NEVER gotten a job I interviewed for. All the jobs I had were granted to me because I was recommended by someone I knew and the interview went something more like a casual conversation than a formal interview. Funny thing is, I have coached friends and relatives on interview techniques (and they got the job), I have attended many workshops and seminars on job searching skills, yet when the time comes for me to perform, nada! I see so many people who are not as qualified or educated getting jobs because they interview so well, they are so eloquent. Neither my personality nor my intellect show through during an interview.

What does it have to do with ADD? People with Attention Deficit Disorder might have difficulty organizing their thoughts and performing under pressure. “They blank when put on the spot” says a website. This article explains it well:
“A thought process begins when a question is asked. The person responding must stop, listen to what is being asked, compare this information to previous experiences, choose an option and then respond. The person with AD/HD most often has difficulty in step one – stopping. As such, the process does not occur and, like the balls in the lottery machine, what comes out of the mouth is often a surprise even to the person who said it! This happens because of the difficulty isolating individual thoughts in a brain that’s constantly being filled with new ideas. The spoken word only becomes real when it is uttered aloud. It is only after the word leaves the mouth that the AD/HD individual can decide whether or not it make sense, and whether or not it’s appropriate. So the statement, “I didn’t mean that” should be taken literally.”

So how am I supposed to ever get a job, especially in such a market? Well, I’ll tell you when I find the answer.


~ by confused on October 30, 2009.

6 Responses to “I SUCK AT INTERVIEWS!”

  1. Great post minha princesa! I admire your courage to be vulnerable about your past interview struggles publicly. Maybe your post will inspire other people with ADD to speak out.

  2. Keep writing and exploring your thoughts. Sometimes a look back can give clarity to our present thoughts. It’s good to read that you are breaking down your past traumas in order to make a possible connection with present day challenges. Sounds like you are on the first step towards healing. Keep searching for the greater understanding.

  3. Thank you for expressing your thought. English is not my first language, and to be honest i am not good at speaking in public at all. Recently finished my degree and now looking for a job. I couldn’t sleep when i am thinking about the coming interview. I know myself so well that i will be stuck when i get the question. I keep practising a lot a lone but i still don’t have the confident about doing the interview. I am applying for jobs at the moment and i really hope i to be better for the interview. This will be the first interview i have ever given in my life. Will tell more how it goes 🙂

  4. i wanted to leave you a nice comment about your blog, but everytime i go to write it down it doesnt make sence or i just go blank :S So i took this survey the other day cause my mums a Psychologist and wanted to test me out, it was on ADD. i scored like 98%, which got me thinking maybe i am. When i think back it all seemed to make sence, not being able to concentrate, daydreaming 24/7, impulsive, failing all my grades losing all my friends, but when i ask people about it they all just say “you’re just lazy, un-motivated, nah you just have pms” maybe they’re right. what should i do? get tested anyway?
    Please help me 😦

  5. Wow. For a moment I thought I was reading something about myself. I totally suck at interviews. A lot of times after an interview I would think back and wonder if what I said even make sense. English isn’t my first language either but I could speak fluently in a causal conversation; guess not so much in a formal interview. Sighs. Thanks for this blog. At least I know I am not the only one who suck at interviews. 🙂

  6. I’m in my 30’s now and just experienced the same thing. I just had an interview and I felt exactly the same way as you do. She asked me one question, “Tell me about your job history” and I just meandered through random and meaningless things about my experience abroad and how it’s connected me to what i really want to do. Her question required just a simple summary of my job experience and I couldn’t give it to her. She ended the interview early because she was probably like, “what is wrong with this guy?” Just like you, I only knew that I was sounding like an idiot as the words were coming out. I was talking about things I knew not to talk about and just going off on crazy tangents. I was embarrassed at my lack of eloquence and at the unfocused barrage of useless information I was yelling at her. My hope is that since this was my first interview in years I’ll get better with more practice, which is true, but it’ll take so much more preparation and memorization than the average person. It’s getting a lot worse as I get older. I can say with 100% certainty that I have ADD primarily inattentive even without the diagnosis. I made an appointment with the doctor to finally get the diagnosis and am hoping to get prescribed something. I heard adderall and vyvanse have worked wonders and have gotten careers on track or back on track so this may be a route you should consider too. If the ADD is preventing you from reaching your potential, you have to do something about it. Yeah, it really sucks to know you’re smart but are limited by a disability. And it IS a disability. And people need help with their disabilities. But thanks for posting. It’s comforting to know there are people in the same boat. It’s been a couple hours since the interview and even though I was really disappointed with myself, I’m thinking back to the interview and laughing at some of the ridiculous things I said. Making fun of yourself is better than loathing yourself.

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