Job interviews can be nerve-wracking for even the most prepared interviewees.
The person sitting across from you is judging your every answer and ultimately deciding your fate at the company. You need to be prepared to answer questions about everything from your employment history to your duties at your current position. For the person going to job interviews in recovery for an addiction, these meetings can be especially dreadful as they struggle with the decision to disclose or not to disclose their addiction.
Job Interview Advice for Recovering Addicts
Many people who come to our drug rehab in Pennsylvania do so after hitting rock bottom. After treatment is over, they still need to start putting their lives back together and for many, this includes finding a new job.
A job interview after rehab comes with some added challenges. Some people were fired from their last job because of their addiction and others have gaps in their employment history because of their time spent at an inpatient rehab. Neither looks great on a resume, but both are salvageable. Even the stigma surrounding addiction itself could negatively impact your chances of getting the position, but these job interview tips for recovering addicts could just help you land your dream job.
Know Your Rights
Employers are not allowed to ask you about your past substance abuse or to decide whether or not you get the job based solely on your addiction history. It is completely up to you to decide how much you want to share about your recovery as well as if you want to say anything about it at all. If you do decide to disclose your substance abuse history to the interviewer, they are not allowed to share that information with colleagues either.
Weigh the Pros & Cons
There are actually some negatives and positives to telling your employer about being in recovery. Some job positions may have different views on addiction recovery as well. Although they are not legally allowed to hold your past addiction against you, it may still impact their decision. On the other hand, telling your potential employer upfront may have some benefits. Being open about your recovery allows you to frame the conversation. If you choose not to disclose and they find out later, it may create distrust or discomfort in the workplace. Also, if they discover you were once an addict based on an online search, it lets their imagination run wild. Besides, do you really want to work for someone who speaks poorly about people with substance abuse disorders? Telling the employer at the interview lets you find this information out before you get the job.
If you have large gaps in your employment history or you were fired from a job in the past, the employer is likely going to ask why. Be prepared with professional answers to these questions and practice them beforehand. Learning how to explain addiction in a job interview that comes off in a professional manner takes time. While you do not need to go into great detail involving your past substance abuse, you do need to have an answer. Sometimes saying something as simple as you were going through a tough time in your life but got help and have now moved forward is sufficient.
You may want to avoid disclosing your past addiction in a job interview after rehab, but that does not mean you should lie to the interviewer. You need to be honest with your potential future employer. If you do not want to disclose your struggle with addiction, you can always be a little vague in questions where it could come up. Lying could get you into serious trouble later on.
Job interviews after rehab can be so nerve-wracking for people in recovery because they want to be upfront about their former addiction, but they are not sure how much they should share. Stay on the safe side and keep it brief. You do not need to share stories about your time at rock bottom or go into detail about your drug detox program. Be concise with your descriptions and only disclose what you feel you need to. While you may have good intentions, too many details may cause you to say something in a way that does not come off well or makes your previous addiction the star of the interview. You are being interviewed, not your past addiction.
Focus on the Positive
If you do decide to disclose your sobriety in a job interview, try to frame your experience in a positive way. Instead of talking about your time at rock bottom, focus on how much you have learned and how you have turned your life around for the better. This optimistic perspective helps frame your recovery in a positive light and can reassure your potential employer that you have no intention of going back.
Handling a job interview in recovery isn’t easy, but these tips could help you take steps in the right direction. At Clearbrook Treatment Centers, we help people find lasting recovery from substance abuse disorders so that they can work toward happier, healthier, and more productive lives.