So you’ve managed to successfully navigate the job application process (which is no easy feat when you’re in recovery, so congratulations!), and now you’ve been given the much-anticipated invitation to start the interview process.

You might experience a little bit of disbelief, excitement, pride and fear all churning around in your stomach as you realize now you have to polish up not only your social skills but your interview skills as well.

It’s okay if you’re feeling slightly lost with where to even begin — that’s why we’re here.

In this article, we’re going to give you our best tips and tricks for making a positive, long-lasting impression during an interview that’s sure to get you hired.

How to prep for an interview

Throughout the early stages of recovery, you are constantly preparing yourself for the inevitable acclimation to the outside world. 

Once it’s time to start looking for a job, especially if you’ve been out of the workforce for a couple of years, you’re going to encounter a variety of challenges. It’s important to prepare yourself for these challenges so that, in turn, you will be prepared to interview.

There are two main phases to preparing for an interview post-recovery: mental preparation and skill building.

When you’re emerging from a newly kicked substance use disorder, there will be some obstacles that were created as a result. This could look like a large employment gap in your work history, criminal or drug-related charges or the expiring of a field-related certification.

Finally, there’s the question of whether or not (and if so, when) to disclose your former addiction to your potential employer.

The standard rule of thumb is if you aren’t asked the question, don’t volunteer the answer. 

Legally, employers cannot ask about your history with legal substances but they are entitled to inquire about your use of illegal substances. Answer honestly but with a focus on your recovery and sobriety, and consider having multiple personal and professional references at hand to further support you.

Interview skills

The second phase of preparing for an interview is ensuring you have built a repertoire of personal and professional skills that will not only benefit you in the interview but all of your employment ventures.

Some of the best interview skills you can build are:

  • Interpersonal and communication
  • Decision-making and problem-solving
  • Self-control and healthy coping mechanisms
  • Creativity, collaboration and the ability to brainstorm

Once you’ve finely tuned your interview skills, you’re one giant step closer to acing your next interview and making a positive, long-lasting impression on the employer.

Interview tips

Now you’re ready to apply those skills to our top three most practical and effective interview tips for those rejoining the workforce after emerging from recovery.

3. Maintain good body language

Many of us go throughout the majority of our lives without ever being conscious of our body language and the different messages it’s sending out. Body language does, however, play a massive role in how people perceive you, which, when you’re interviewing, is important.

Some examples of body language that are commonly interpreted as negative include: 

  • Crossing your arms
  • Slouching
  • Leaning backward (which implies disinterest)
  • Avoiding eye contact

Positive body language includes: soft eye contact (i.e., maintaining eye contact without staring them down), relaxed shoulders and a straight posture while smiling, and leaning slightly forwards when the interviewer is speaking.

2. Prepare a list of questions

This will require you to do a bit of research on the company before the interview, learning about the establishment, the mission statement or core values, the current company culture, and even the outfit policy. Taking the time to learn about the company and demonstrating your knowledge in an interview shows a potential employer you are taking this opportunity seriously.

Once you’ve learned about the company, as well as realized there are some things you don’t know but want to, you can create a list of three to five questions to ask in the interview.

1. Keep things positive

If your previous substance use disorder is brought up, instead of focusing on how difficult or terrible your experience was, reframe your recovery as a way of overcoming obstacles.

If you’re asked about your weaknesses, give examples where you persevered through them, or learned a lesson, or acquired a new skill.

You want to be positive and forward-focused, but not in a superficial way.

Reach out for professional support

If you find yourself overwhelmed with preparing for an interview, you can send us a message anytime.

At Real Recovery, we’re rooting for your success just as much as you are; so much so that we’ve made it a massive part of our mission to help you do just that. 

We offer a variety of different services and programs to help you build your best sober life, and our highly skilled team of compassionate team members is here to walk you through it all.

To learn more about how we can help you prepare for your new career post-recovery, give us a call today at 855-363-7325.