ADHD Job Interview Tips with HR Nikki!
You may not know this, but our own Nikki Kinzer has an extensive background in human resources and has interviewed more people than she can remember. So this week on the show, she’s going to be sharing some of the strategies she wishes more interviewees would have followed, and how your ADHD can impact you along the way!
We’ve already talked about how you’re going about managing the emotions that come with the job hunt in the last two episodes with Dr. Doug. This week, we’re moving into the direct experience of the job hunt. You may not know this, but our own Nikki Kinzer has an extensive background in human resources and has interviewed more people than she can remember. So this week on the show, she’s going to be sharing some of the strategies she wishes more interviewees would have followed, and how your ADHD can impact you along the way!
Here are some sample questions you might ask during your own interview (for reference from this episode):
- What do you think are the most important skills for someone to have in this position? (does it match?)
- What does a typical day look like for this position? (does that sound good?)
- How might the day vary from day to day?
- How many people would I be working with and how do I work with them?
- Who do I report to you? What are they like? (if applicable)
- What does the workload look like over the course of the year? Are there some seasons that are busier than others? Why, and how does the company adjust when work is heavy/light?
- Why is this position open?
- How would you explain the work culture here?
- Why do you like working here?
- What are the next steps, will I hear back and when?
Links & Notes
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Nikki Kinzer: Hello, everyone. That is-
Pete Wright: Oh Nikki.
Nikki Kinzer: …. Human Resources Nikki Kinzer. In fact-
Pete Wright: [crosstalk 00:00:21] professional.
Nikki Kinzer: … I have a little thing here that my husband found in the garage, when we were cleaning up the garage that says, “Nikki Kinzer PHR.” I used to be a certified professional human resource person.
Pete Wright: That’s right. Part of the SPHR. MSP HRM, the society professional resource managers. Yes?
Nikki Kinzer: Sure.
Pete Wright: Oh Yeah, yeah.
Nikki Kinzer: That was me for a while.
Pete Wright: Old school, and that means you are putting on your interview tips hat from the perspective of somebody who actually has done a lot of interviewing and has been on the receiving end of so many resumes.
Nikki Kinzer: True.
Pete Wright: So, we’re going to talk all about that today. Very excited about that. Before we dig in, head over to takecontroladhd.com. Get to know us a little bit better. You can listen to the show right there on the website or subscribe to the mailing list and we will send you an email each time a new episode is released. You can connect with us on Twitter or Facebook at Take Control ADHD. And, did that you can join us live each week and hear this podcast super early? All you have to do is visit patrion.com/theadhdpodcast to sign up. For just a few bucks a month, you get access to the live stream of the show, your very own personal podcast feed and depending on your level of support, monthly workshops with us that go beyond what we cover in the podcast each week.
Pete Wright: Most important though, is that by joining us as a patron, you’re joining the community of listeners that keeps this podcast thriving. This is an incredible group active every day in our online community on discord and Facebook and they are an incredible gift to us. So, drop a few bucks in the jar and help us guarantee that we continue to grow the show, add new features and invest more heavily in our [email protected]/dadhdpodcast. Thank you.
Pete Wright: Big news today, in our community, today is discord mom’s birthday.
Nikki Kinzer: Yay, happy birthday.
Pete Wright: Yay. Happy birthday Melissa.
Nikki Kinzer: She does so much for us on the backend of discord. So, we appreciate you and happy birthday.
Pete Wright: Absolutely. Everybody give her a shout out and some sort of an animated GIF would be really great to Melissa, discord mom on discord. Okay. We have some news, Women’s ADHD Palooza is coming.
Nikki Kinzer: Yes. We have an announcement. I don’t know how many years they’ve done this now, but it is coming. It is a great opportunity to listen to many ADHD experts in the field including, you and I, Pete. We’re going to beat on there.
Pete Wright: Yeah. We’re totally there.
Nikki Kinzer: Yes. And we’re actually going to continue the conversation around the workplace. So I’m excited about that. And there will be a link to sign up in the show notes and it begins February 24th through the 29th. So, it’s at the end of February.
Pete Wright: We love what Linda and team are doing over there and then just what a great resource they are in the community and we’re happy to be a part of that too.
Nikki Kinzer: Absolutely. So I have a little personal story for you before we get going.
Pete Wright: That’s good. And I love that.
Nikki Kinzer: So, I’ve been looking for a planner that is kind of a wellness type of planner, for me to kind of be able to journal and track. That’s some of the habits that I’m working on. And I’ve been looking online and I just… I don’t know, I haven’t really found anything that I liked. And you know that I like the bullet journal, right? I’ve always said that I liked the bullet journal for healthy habits, especially for tracking and stuff. So I decided to go to Barnes & Noble yesterday, and they had all of the regular bullet journals that are just bullet journals and then they had these planners, they had no wellness planners, which was just sad and they just had regular planner. But I found this bullet journal planner, like weekly planner but it’s a bullet journal.
Pete Wright: But it’s already got all the bullet parts?
Nikki Kinzer: Yes.
Pete Wright: Lined up hor you?
Nikki Kinzer: Yes. And it has the day and the week and the month and it has all these places for notes and everything. And I thought, I’m going to do this. This is going to be my wellness planner, where there was one left. I was so excited, but I got shamed for procrastinating.
Pete Wright: Why?
Nikki Kinzer: So I go there to pay and he says… and I bought some puzzles. I bought two puzzles that were on sale and this planner and the total came to like 20 something and I was like, “Huh?” And he goes, “Well, the planner was 75% off.” And I’m like, “Really? It’s 75% off?” And he’s like, “Well, yeah. It’s almost February.” I’m like, “Thank you for my planner that I bought for $4 and 90 cents.”
Pete Wright: That’s a great deal.
Nikki Kinzer: I know. And I’m like, “How can you shame me for that? And they’re still 11 months in the year people. I mean, come on.” I was like, “Wow.” He was mean.
Pete Wright: That is right.
Nikki Kinzer: Yeah. So, anyway-
Pete Wright: As long as you’re doing that, I want to shout out something that came across my radar. It’s the cortex theme system journal, and I’ll drop a link in the show notes. And these guys are some of my favorite nerds and CGP Gray and Mike Hurley and the cortex podcast is made over the last several years, great work of themes, yearly themes instead of resolutions. It’s very similar to stuff talk about all along. But they actually have gone so far is to create a sort of bespoke journal for the cortex theme system. So, in it allows you to track all your high level themes for a given year. What are you doing to work on the theme that you’re promising yourself is going to be what you’re going to be focusing on for a year. How are you doing it, how you’re tracking your habits and new behaviors.
Pete Wright: I really like what they’ve done and it’s a very high quality. Everything’s very high quality paper and-
Nikki Kinzer: That’s great.
Pete Wright: Yeah. Mike Hurley also runs The Pen Addict podcast. So, he has a deep ingrains a sensitivity for high quality paper and pens. So, this paper is the best that they can do. The balance between paper and pen and bleed and all of the wonderful pieces that go into it. So, if you want to explore a different system that also works, I’ll put a link to the cortex system in there. It’s pretty fun. I have not purchased it myself, but I have friends who have and they really like it how it works.
Nikki Kinzer: That’s great. There we go.
Pete Wright: All right, Nikki Kinzer. Interviewing. Now, this is a continuation of our discussion on ADHD in the workplace. It is a thing that causes anxiety to many who have written, who have said that this is a thing that’s important to them, that interviewing… Let’s say you get your resume through the door, you get it to the right person and you get the call for the interview. Boy, does that RSD kick in early? Early and often. So, how do you as a former HR professional, member of Sherm. How do you want to approach this now, as a former Sherm now ADHD couch?
Nikki Kinzer: Oh, that’s so funny. Well, I think definitely there is a lot of RSD around interviewing, but we did talk about that. We talked about that in the first two shows about how to handle those emotions and such. And so today’s show’s going to be really about tips and things to get you ready. And I think that the biggest thing that happens is, you get that call and you’re surprised, because you’re not expecting the call. So, what I want to talk about is getting ready for the call. We need to expect it and then be ready for it. So, one of the things that I suggest is, check your voicemail message. How does it sound? Is it professional?
Pete Wright: Oh, I think so many people leave that voicemail place when they first set up their phone and they forget-
Nikki Kinzer: They forget, right.
Pete Wright: … what they did. Yeah?
Nikki Kinzer: Yeah. And when you answer your phone, especially to a number that you don’t recognize, make sure you answer it professionally. Because you don’t want to be like, “Hey, what’s up?” Or, “Who are you?” Like, “Who is this?” You got to just be careful that-
Pete Wright: Well, and can I just say from a technical perspective, many new phones, I think they do this in Android. I know they do this on Apple. When you set it up it says, “Do you want to turn on a blocking of anonymous calls?” So if they’re not in your contact list, they’ll just go straight to voicemail, you can turn that on and people… You turn that on once, you forget that it’s on and suddenly your phone’s not ringing.
Nikki Kinzer: Oh, that’s a good point.
Pete Wright: And you get voicemail notifications, but if you’re not checking those, then you miss calls, you miss texts. And those things, as far as I know, are still important. As much as organizations are moving to email interaction and online hubs for managing resume submissions and things. Those things are still important. So make sure you have those on. Those settings on [crosstalk 00:09:37].
Nikki Kinzer: And actually it’s a good point if you’re getting an email. Check your email address if you are looking for a job. And it’s something that, if you have some weird email address that you might want to like change your address to an actual job hunting address, just because you really want to just give your best impression. First impressions are important. So, that’s something else to think about too. So, that the person on the call or however you’re talking to the person, wants to set up an interview. Now, if you’re talking to them, you may get all excited and just be like, “Yeah, yeah. That’s great. Let’s set up a time and you give me the time.” And that’s all. But what I want you to do is actually, let them know, “Okay, hold on just a moment. Let me grab my calendar.” Put them on mute so that they don’t hear you wrestling around, because we know that’s probably what’s going to happen. You’re not expecting the call. So, you want to go and look for whatever you need, as a piece of paper or whatever. But put them on mute.
Nikki Kinzer: Have your calendar ready to go. If it’s on your phone and you can’t talk at the same time, because it’s like you don’t want to put the person on speaker phone. At least have a piece of paper and have an idea of when you can interview, so that you kind of know this going into it. And then when you get back on the phone, you want to schedule it, but then confirm with them out loud what the day is, what the time is and what the address is. So we want to make sure you confirm all of these things and also ask them is there a place that you should park. Is there anything you should know about parking? These are all things that for the ADHD mind, you need to be able to hear twice at least, and then be able to write it down. So that’s why I say that.
Pete Wright: Well, and all of these things that Nikki just said, write them down and put them on a checklist. Right?
Nikki Kinzer: Right, right.
Pete Wright: This is a great opportunity for a checklist to make sure that you are covering all of those every time you talk to a potential hirer.
Nikki Kinzer: Absolutely. As soon as you get off the phone, you need to put this appointment in your calendar, right away. Don’t wait, put it in your calendar. Set a reminder the night before the interview, the morning of the interview, whenever you think is best for you to be helpful. But we don’t want to forget the interview and we want to make sure weren’t going to talk about this, but we want to prepare for it. So just don’t wait. Just put it in there right away so that you won’t forget. Now you have the interview and you’re going to get ready for it. So there’s this preparation.
Nikki Kinzer: So, the tip number two is really about researching the company and the position that you’re being hired for… Being looked at, I should say. So, know who you’re talking to, review their website, research them on Google, reread the job description that they have, whether it’s on online platform or whatever. And as you’re doing the research, write down any kind of questions you might have for the company. And we’re going to talk about this more in just a minute, but this is important. Just, what is peaking your curiosity? So just do some research. You don’t want to go into a job interview not knowing anything about the company.
Pete Wright: Well, and I think you just said something really important which is… it goes back to mood. We talked about putting yourself in a mood to be curious. To be in a mood where you are provoked by this company that you want to work for. Because going in with questions that indicate that you are a seeker. That you’re in a space to explore and to learn. It sets you apart from a lot of folks who just-
Nikki Kinzer: Oh, it will.
Pete Wright: … looking for another gig.
Nikki Kinzer: Absolutely. It will definitely set you apart. So we have been asked before for just talking about like those administrative or office type of positions. And I think that these tips really go to any type of position that you’re looking for, whether it’s entry level, a high level, whatever. It really doesn’t matter. You got to research the company, you got to show your best self, all of that stuff. And tip number three is you have to practice interviewing. And this is especially true if you haven’t interviewed in a long time, which would be me. If I was to go into an interview, I would have to really practice it and role play with someone to even… How do I sound? So, look at some common interview questions. It has been awhile since I’ve been in a position where I’ve hired people.
Nikki Kinzer: I would think though that the questions are still pretty standard, still pretty much the same. So, think about how you want to answer these questions. Role play with someone, record yourself, so that you can listen back and really… What do you notice? Are you talking too much? Are you talking too little? Are you saying, ums, too much or uh. I just said uh. That kind of stuff. So you can just kind of see what’s going on. Think about how you want to explain your past positions. What do you want your future to look like? Even if you don’t know, have some kind of answer in your mind of where you might want to go. Practice how you will explain why you left your last jobs. I think this question is going to be probably asked. So we want to be prepared of how you want to talk about it.
Nikki Kinzer: In the first couple shows with Dr Doug Heir, we talked about not talking negative about your job or company or past bosses. So, be listening to that, how positive you come across, even if it’s true, they’re never going to know the real story. And you story, they don’t. And if you talk negative and and kind of have an edge around you, the only person that’s going to look bad is you, because they’re not going to necessarily believe this boss was horrendous. So, you just have to be really careful with how you approach yourself. Be positive, talk about what you learned, what you enjoyed and what you’re looking for in the future and move on from it. Does that make sense?
Pete Wright: Yes. Yes. And I have some thoughts and questions for you.
Nikki Kinzer: Sure.
Pete Wright: Now, I know things are very dynamic in the hiring process and I know that many organizations have a number of sort of hurdles that you have to cross to get there. I know my past experiences, you’d come in for the… There, there’d be the initial call, “Hey, we’re just going to essentially vet you.” The first call is generally on the phone and we want to make sure that you are a real human being, that you really want a job, that you live in the area, that our expectations aligned with you, and being in this space with this company. And then you get that, we’ll call it the first interview. And that may be with an HR manager. I mean, that’s somebody who is again going to further the process and make sure that you have a background check done and that all of the sort of basics kind of operational stuff.
Pete Wright: But then you get companies that are doing much more to experience you and create an experience of fit. And that may include examinations. It may include some sort of tests, logic tests. If you’re going into an engineering position, it’ll be some sort of mathematics, engineering, science questions, things like that. I know that the stories of Microsoft and Google and Apple of their rigorous interviewing process is extensive. Where people are going back for eight, nine, 10 interviews with different hiring managers to make sure that those are a good fit.
Pete Wright: Now, when I think about that experience, and even in my last job in marketing and public relations, I went through five interviews to get into the position where I was. And it was a senior sort of director level position for an international company. So, I that kind of rigor, but what it does to the ADHD brain is dizzying. When every time you’re having to get yourself a up to a level of readiness for a job that you already sort of have in your head that you’ve interviewed for. Do you have any thoughts on that, on how you approach that as a process?
Nikki Kinzer: I think that it’s one of those things that, you just have to sort of take it taped by day and not jump to the future. And I think that what I’m hearing from you is some anxiety around what that’s going to look like. So, I would say we need to address that piece and be okay with whatever that process is, and just take it one examination at a time, one interview at a time and keep centering yourself. But, we’ll talk a little bit about the actual interview too, of how to kind of calm yourself when you’re in the interview. But honestly, I would just say, try not to worry about all of that. Let’s just take it one step at a time and see what happens.
Nikki Kinzer: I remember interviewing with the whole department before I went into the HR department at the credit union that I worked with, and I thought that was great, because I actually got to see who I was going to be working with. I got to see my boss, I got to see my coworkers. They asked me questions, I asked them questions and we could see if it was going to be a good fit. So I think that again, I would look at it as an opportunity for you to also be interviewing them and looking at them and how they fit with what you’re looking for. And the more information you have, the better.
Pete Wright: I think it’s also a really great opportunity too, to position in your head, maybe not out loud, but in your head as if, okay, let’s assume I already have the job. How would I treat my experience working with these people? I’m going to meet maybe eight, 10 different people on this journey of interviewing. How would I like them to see me if I already had the job? How would I like them to see my representation of this work, these tasks that they’re asking me to do, if I already have the job? I think that can go a long way toward reducing that anxiety that you’re talking about. The things that we might normally pick up on the job hunt when we’re in that process.
Nikki Kinzer: Okay. So, tip number four is those first impressions. And whatever you think the dress code is, definitely wear that. But for even more casual jobs, I would say step it up a bit. Doesn’t mean you need to wear a suit or anything like that. But if the job is usually just jeans and a sweatshirt or whatever, you can probably still wear jeans but have a nicer shirt. Just step up a bit on that first impression. You don’t want to walk in with sweater or not being groomed and all of that. First impressions matter. Most of the time I could tell within probably just a few minutes, that first few minutes, if I was going to take you to the next step or not. I mean it is really a very quick process. But you want to be there around 10 to 15 minutes early in the waiting room and have already checked in.
Nikki Kinzer: So, this is really important for ADHD because we know this is not easy, so you’ve really got to plan it out. And I did this with a client recently where she had an interview, we figured out where it was, how long it was going to take her to get there from her house and kind of thought about the commute. And we decided to actually get her there earlier about probably 20 to 25 minutes early. She waited in her car and then went in at 15 minutes early, checked in and waited for the person. So if you’re concerned, get there early, wait in your car and be there. That’s a much better solution than to be running late.
Pete Wright: Cannot stress that enough for me to… I’m definitely, I’m an avid car waiter, because I don’t want to risk GPS sending me to the wrong place. I don’t want to risk like I’ve been in. If there is a question, so many… I live in an area where there are hundreds and hundreds of businesses, but they all exist inside of giant sort of warehouse style fronts. Where you have the little tiny sign, on the little tiny door, that’s in the middle of a giant building that’s full of dozens and dozens other businesses, and you have to wind through to get to just the right building. I always preplan the drive. If I have a meeting with them on Wednesday, I’ll take the time on Tuesday and drive and make sure I’m at the place where I know. I’m going to walk in that door so that I can get those questions answered well in advance, because I really stress about locations. I’m just terrible at it. I don’t have an intuitive sense of it. I’ve got to have it mapped out prior.
Nikki Kinzer: Well, and that’s another good example of why we want to double check the location when we were setting up the interview. Especially if you’re interviewing somewhere that has more than one location, we want to make sure you get the right one. Be very kind to whoever is greeting you, whether it’s a receptionist, front person, whoever it is, even if it’s a relaxed environment, assumed that the person that you’re meeting with could be the person that you’re interviewing with. So, be friendly, be nice and give them a nice firm handshake, people. Look at them in the eye and say, “Nice to meet you.” And I’m speaking to the women out there. Especially, because there’s so many women that have kind of nice… little kind of flimsy handshakes. We don’t need that. We want a nice firm handshake, be confident and nice to meet you. It matters. It matters. And I think it’s just a nice… Also, boost your confidence up a little bit too. Like, “Hey, I can do this.”
Nikki Kinzer: So, when you’re in the interview, please don’t lie. I know it’s really easy to want to embellish maybe what or don’t know. But this will come back to bite you later if you get the job and they thought you knew something and you don’t know it. So it is totally fine. Oh, I have some experience with this, but I probably could learn more or I could do some more research on it. Whatever. You can still make it look positive and nice, but don’t lie about it.
Pete Wright: You can also… I mean, that’s a great way to highlight skills, right?
Nikki Kinzer: Exactly.
Pete Wright: I don’t know about that, but I’m a quick study-
Nikki Kinzer: There we go.
Pete Wright: … and I love to research and that is a great way to accentuate something that you’re pretty good.
Nikki Kinzer: Absolutely.
Pete Wright: I hope you’re good at that. Don’t say that if you’re not good at that.
Nikki Kinzer: Right.
Pete Wright: It’s important.
Nikki Kinzer: Keep your answers positive. Remember your practice interviewing skills. They will ask probably about your challenges. So again, we want to be honest, but we don’t want to express it in an, all or nothing way. Like, “I am bad at this or I never could do this.” Just be really careful with how you’re explaining yourself. Because there is that standard, what are your weaknesses, what are your strengths? And so in case you get that, just be careful on how you portray that. Let’s see. Oh, this is great advice that was given to me and I think I’ve given it to other people. They can’t ask you a question that you don’t know because the interview is about you. So, if you don’t know how to do something, we’ve already addressed that. But if they’re asking you about yourself and about your experience and about all what you’re interested in.
Nikki Kinzer: It’s all about you and just remember that there are no wrong answers. Be yourself, and just take a deep breath, pause for a second before you respond, and let them know what you want them to know and it’s okay to sell yourself. You don’t have to be the sleazy car salesman person. But if they ask you why you’re the best person for the job, think about how you’re going to answer that. What is your skill set? What would make you an asset? Why would they be lucky to have you? And you can do all of these things when you’re in that practice interviewing stage, so that you do come across confident.
Pete Wright: That’s exactly what I was going to say. By the time you get into an interview, you will have practiced this question because it’s an important one in the interview process. And whether you get asked that question specifically or not, being able to have practiced that language is important. I do have a question for you about… And I think for me it would be the… We’ll call it the ADHD chatterbox that I can sort of find myself in. So I’m wondering, and this will allow us, I think a transition to our next major tip, a topic. How do you… You’re sitting in a high pressure situation with somebody who has the influence to help sell whether or not you should be working at this place. How do you say what you need to say and then shut up and not get too enthusiastic about telling your story over their own?
Nikki Kinzer: You have to practice. You have to practice the interviewing. And if you don’t have somebody to practice with, I highly recommend you record yourself. Because it is so true, I mean, and it’s something that you don’t even realize you’re doing and you have to listen to it for yourself and then you have to look back and think, “Okay, I can edit this part. They don’t need to know about this part.” And then that way you can kind of edit yourself. Practice. All you can do is practice.
Pete Wright: I think there is a… One, you want to practice the interview process, but don’t forget that every human interaction that you have is an opportunity to practice, not doing this.
Nikki Kinzer: Yes. Well that’s an excellent point because it doesn’t have to just be an interview. It can be a daily conversation. Absolutely.
Pete Wright: Yes. And when you’re in the job hunt process, when you’re in the interview process, there is no better time than to really focus on, am I saying what I need to say when I need to say it to this person? Am I, most important, am I listening? Am I listening to every single thing that they’re saying? Whoever I’m talking to, whether it’s a barista at Starbucks or the person who’s interviewing me for a job. Am I paying attention to what they’re saying or am I paying attention to the next thing that I want to come out of my mouth? Because if it’s the latter, you’re going to put your foot in it. And that’s a really important thing I think, to stop and take a step back. But the other piece leads directly into tip six. Do you want to introduce that?
Nikki Kinzer: I do, but before I do that, I just want people to know too that something that I used to do when I interviewed, is I would purposely have a pause there so somebody would answer a question for me and then I would be writing it down and I would purposely not say anything.
Pete Wright: Oh diabolical.
Nikki Kinzer: Right. Because I knew that if I didn’t say anything, and there was a little bit of pause that they would say something because people are really uncomfortable with silence. And a lot of times, that’s how you could kind of figure out who this person was because they would start talking. Now I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but I am telling you that there are interviewers who will do that because that is a trick for the interviewer to learn more the interviewee. And so either you sit comfortable with silence and wait for the next question or really do you think, before you speak about what you’re saying here. Is it really necessary.
Pete Wright: This is an important skill for just human conversation is, giving the person that you are in partnership with in that conversation, a chance to breathe and a chance to speak. And I think one of the things that we have internally is a clock that is unintentionally sped up when silence hits. And we think that a given silence is much longer than it actually is.
Nikki Kinzer: Yeah. That’s very true.
Pete Wright: It’s not very long. So, it will feel awkward to you long before it’s actually awkward.
Nikki Kinzer: Right, right. So, yes. Going into tip number six is, ask your own questions. So, when they ask you at the end, “Do you have any questions?” Please have some. Because, it was always sort of a turn off to me if somebody said, “Nope, I don’t have any questions.” Because to me it felt like, “Okay, so they’re not really that interested. Maybe they don’t like me.” I was a really hard interviewer… I wasn’t a hard interviewer, but I was hard to read and most HR people are hard to read. And I remember people after I hired them, they would come in and they would be like, I just didn’t know what you thought. And I could have thought they were the best thing since I sliced bread, but they couldn’t tell. So you do want to make sure you have questions and kind of be able to find out if this is a good fit. Because this is really your research.
Nikki Kinzer: And I think for ADHD it’s really important that you’re looking for the right fit. We know how hard it is to find the right job and to find a job that’s going to fit you, that you’re going to be engaged in. So, it’s important that you do the interviewing as well. And I have some examples, some questions, there’ll be in the transcripts, we can put them in the show notes too, if you’d like. I’m also going to put this into a blog post and so it will also be in a blog post and this week as well. But these are some questions you can ask. What do you think are the most important skills for someone to have in this position? So in your mind you’re thinking, does it match my skill set? So you’re making them not just ask you what you know, but what do they think is most important? What does a typical day look like for this position? And does that sound good to you? Is that how you want to spend 40 to 50 hours of your life per week? You’ve got to think about that.
Nikki Kinzer: I would also ask how might the day vary from day to day or the week? Is there different jobs you’ll be doing? Because again, variety I think is important for a lot of ADHD years, creativity’s really important. So, you want to know, does this job vary or am I doing the same thing or whatever. How many people would I be working with and how do I work with them? This is specifically important to whether or not you like teams or you don’t like teams. So you want to know who’s going to be around you. Who do I report to? Now, who you’re interviewing could be the person you report to. So, I don’t know. But if it is, great because then you can ask them questions. What do you like about working here? What are you looking forward an employee? That kind of thing.
Nikki Kinzer: This is a little trickier. So, when I wrote this down I thought… Gosh, I don’t know if I’m saying this right. So Pete, you can kind of tell me what you think. Should I expect a lot of overtime or are there certain times of the year that are busier than others? I think that maybe what I would say now that I look at it, is don’t ask the question of, should I expect a lot of overtime. But I do think it’s probably good to ask if there’s certain times of the year that are busier than others because that can kind of probably gauge whether or not you would be working over time. What do you think?
Pete Wright: Yeah. No, I think that’s great. And I think if you put yourself, as you’re sitting there being interviewed and you put yourself in the position of being the interviewer and the kinds of questions that you’re getting, they’re going to ask you to tell stories about and give your experiences with certain situations. And I feel like the questions that you ask can be equally exploratory. So I would avoid yes or no questions that you want to ask. But instead, should I expect a lot of overtime? That’s a yes or no question. So, I would slash that right away. But I like the idea about, “Can you tell me about the general flow of a given calendar year in terms of work expectations. What does it look like in your busiest season versus your quietest and how does the work change? How does the environment change? How does the culture change?” Anytime you get a chance to get them talking and telling you a story, gives you all of that more information to listen to.
Nikki Kinzer: Absolutely. Well and you brought up culture and I think that’s also a good question as, how would you explain the work culture here and have them explain that to you and why do they like working here? And I would also ask why is the position open? I mean, I think that’s a fair question. Did somebody get promoted? Did somebody leave? Why is it open? Is it a new position? I don’t know, I mean I think I’d just be curious to know, especially if it’s a new position, because that’s something you have to thinking about too. They’re not exactly sure how this is going to look. So, there might be some tweaking along the way. And then I would say, “What are the next steps? When can I expect to hear back from you?”
Pete Wright: Please, please don’t say ever. Please don’t say, “When can I start?” Oh my God.
Nikki Kinzer: Oh yeah, no. Don’t do that.
Pete Wright: I get it. Particularly, my experiences interviewing for sales and marketing and I get this, it never fails from salespeople. A strong handshake and when would you like me to start? Or see a Monday? And I’m telling you nothing is a bigger turnoff.
Nikki Kinzer: Right. I agree.
Pete Wright: It is not great assumptive close in this kind of a situation. You’re probably not reading the room. If that feels like the next thing you should say, or if you say it at the end of every interview.
Nikki Kinzer: Be confident but not arrogant. And at the end of the interview, shake their hand, nice firm handshake, look at them in the eyes, thank them for the opportunity, their time, however it comes to you to say something like that, but definitely thank them. So tip number seven is about followup and when I was talking about this, I was certainly thinking of the ADHD mind. It’s really easy to kind of forget about the interview after it’s done or forget to follow up. So I would say, send a reminder or set a reminder on your phone to follow up maybe about two or three days after the interview. And depending on your initial correspondence, whether it was an email or a text or a phone call, follow up with a thank you. Let them know you’re interested in the position and that you look forward to hearing from them soon. There’s nothing wrong with that.
Nikki Kinzer: I hope that whatever company you do interview with that they do actually respond back to you. Either way. I think it’s really rude when people don’t, because you’re kind of like wondering what happened. You probably won’t get a reason why you didn’t get the job. So that is something that I would tell you that sometimes we would get questions about why they didn’t get it or what happened. And the HR laws I don’t think have changed all that much when in regards to that. They’re going to be pretty…
Pete Wright: Yeah. If anything, they’ve gotten more conservative-
Nikki Kinzer: They’re very conservative.
Pete Wright: [crosstalk 00:37:33].
Nikki Kinzer: So, you’re never going to find out from an interview.
Pete Wright: But I think it’s really important if you’re seeking for a job to understand this, and tell me if it’s different from your experience, but for me the experience is always been, I am not filtering applicants for reasons they’re not going to get the job. So once I’ve decided that there is a group of folks that is above the line, I’m no longer paying attention at all to why you aren’t getting the job. There was something about skillset fit whatever, that meant you didn’t cross that line. And I just am not thinking about you anymore. Thank you so much. But I am filtering for the aspects that I believe, as a hiring manager, are going to be in alignment with the job. I don’t know why you didn’t get the job. All I know is you didn’t have the thing that they did and I’ve moved on.
Nikki Kinzer: Well and something with that too, I think is that, remember the… So this is my philosophy. Some people may not think the same, but I just think that it wasn’t meant to be then. I think that there’s something higher that, if I get this position, there was something that they saw, that they saw that I wouldn’t fit and I don’t know what that is. So, that’s where you have to just keep your confidence and keep moving and not let that bug you. You can keep practicing. You can keep listening to yourself. You can keep making your interview skills strong. And just with that RSD, really try to let that go. “Okay, I didn’t get this position, but that’s okay. There’s going to be something else that’s going to open up.” So just keeping that positive energy is going to really help.
Pete Wright: Bonus tip, let’s talk a little bit about what happens as we live in an online world. What happens when you’re not going to meet them in person, you’re not driving over to their place, but they say, “Hey, let’s set up a zoom. Let’s set up a Skype interview and have our conversation face to face, but through the computer.” What do you think about that?
Nikki Kinzer: I would do the same thing really as you would in person. Show up early, be be prepared, have your questions ready. In fact it’s almost better in some respects if they’re online because you could even have some little notes here in front of you and no one’s going to know. So you could have some little bullet points and little reminders. So, I would look at it as a good opportunity. Something else that might happen is, they may want you to fill out like a questionnaire or something like that before too. And that gives you some time to also kind of look at the questions and be able to respond and not be in a rush. So there’s actually a lot of good things about online.
Pete Wright: Oh, there are a lot of good things about it. I would add, clean up your set. Make sure that what is behind you is straight. Don’t be sitting in a pile of things or dirty laundry or your bed.
Nikki Kinzer: I agree.
Pete Wright: Make sure you clean up your set. Look good. I would clean up that table. It’s got my wallet, my keys on it and an iPad stand. I would clean that stuff off. I would also wear pants, and I know that sounds like a joke, but I get so many people that say, “Oh, it’s so funny you can wear pants.” It’s like the always the first joke that I hear when people say, you got a… This is so great, I can interview from home or I can work from home, wear pants because I’m telling you if you dress 100% for the part, you’re going to have a better interview. If you’re wearing fuzzy slippers… so, when I was on the news… I’m serious, I was an anchor on the news, believe it or not. And when I was on the news, we used to have this gag where, of course, sometimes you’d wear shorts, khaki shorts or something with your blazer and your thing if you’re never going to stand up.
Pete Wright: But you suck, when you do that. You don’t sound the part, you don’t live the experience when you’re not dressed for the role. So whatever role it is, you want to dress for it because you will exude something different. Wear shoes for example, like it just feels different than when you’re doing it bohemian. So, that is-
Nikki Kinzer: That’s a good point. That’s a really good point.
Pete Wright: Yeah. It’s charming and fun and funny. We get this all the time, when we’re podcasting and, “Oh, it’s great, you can do it from bed.” I don’t do it from bed. I’m in my office and I stand up and I’m actually engaged in the process. And I think it sounds different as a result. So, come to play.
Nikki Kinzer: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. That’s a great point. That’s a great point. The only other thing that I didn’t put in here that I think is going to be helpful hopefully to people is I know that the application process can be, oh awful. And the resume process can be really daunting too. So, I would just say, definitely have some people look at your resume, double check it, edit it, don’t be the only eyes on it. Look at format. It has to be easy to read. You don’t have to have a lot of information on there. I think it’s really kind of the basis of what you did, the dates, the skills you have, but just make sure it’s easy to read. Because when I would go through the resumes, I skimmed them. I never read them word for word. If you have a cover letter, don’t have just a standard stupid cover letter, we can tell. It’s very obvious, especially when you don’t change the name. And it’s, to a different company.
Pete Wright: I always write them in crayon and I make sure I spill a little coffee.
Nikki Kinzer: Yeah. Yeah. So just be careful. But I don’t even know if they do cover letters anymore. I don’t know if that’s a thing.
Pete Wright: There are so many automated systems now when you’re applying for jobs, especially when you’re applying through agencies, like you fill in blanks and boxes and everything gets routed now. It’s just a very different experience.
Nikki Kinzer: I think that the easiest way to make this easy for you is to just have a document that you can open up that has all of that information and all you have to do is cut and paste and fill in and not have to think about it. So do that preparation, maybe have your resume and that could be it of what you look at for the online stuff. But that’s the biggest key, is just having the information ready to go. So, it doesn’t seem so cumbersome when you’re actually applying.
Pete Wright: I have one more tip. Can I expand it? One more bonus? Bonus tip number two, a. They have not yet talk specifically about the value of networking and where that should go without saying. Activating your own contacts and friends and relationships and friends spouses, whatever, when you’re looking for a job. The number of experiences that I have had where people have activated their relationship with me to look for a referral and to look for a positive interview, where that relationship has been torpedoed because they haven’t switched modes. They come to me, they ask for me for a job and then they make an off color joke or something that’s just right. You have to assume, as soon as you activate your network in a job hunting space, that you’re already interviewing for a job.
Pete Wright: It doesn’t matter how long you’ve known the person that you’re asking. It doesn’t matter how often you’ve been fishing with them or hunting or camping, whatever. You’re all run and you’re saying, “Hey. Bob, I need your help. I would very much like [inaudible 00:44:44] at your company. I think I have the skills and there’s a job open.” You have begun interviewing for the position there immediately because if you’re asking me, my head is now shifted to, would I actually want to work with this person. I’m great being friends with them, but do I want to see them every day? And then you’re being interviewed. It doesn’t matter the social construct you have changed the relationship by asking for that favor. So, don’t torpedo it by mischaracterizing your friendship for something else. Please, please change that level of interaction.
Nikki Kinzer: That’s a really good point. Really good point. All right. There you go. Lots of great stuff today, Pete.
Pete Wright: That’s right. Lots of good stuff.
Nikki Kinzer: Nice job.
Pete Wright: A good continuation of our conversation. Please continue the conversation over in discord or on Facebook. We’d love to hear all of your ideas and your experiences to embrace and extend what we have started here and our ADHD and work series. Thank you everybody on behalf of Nikki Kinzer, I’m Pete Wright. We’ll catch you next time right here on Taking Control, the ADHD podcast.