Saturday, June 4, 2011

How those with Aspergers or HFA can conquer Social Anxiety with Interviews

ASD folk, those with Aspergers or Autism, often find that they can handle casual conversations well enough. However, when the pressure is on our control can slip away and we crawl back within ourselves. There are not many situations more pressure packed than when employment is on the line. So what to do? Here are some tips for calming yourself and making the situation smoother than you might fear.

  1. Write out answers to anticipated questions, easy and hard, before hand.
  2. Practice the interview. If you can do it with someone you trust great but even sitting with a mirror (you do not have to make eye contact; just as long as you get the general idea of someone across from you) and going over the questions you know and the ones that you think may give you difficulty. Have the answers there with you.
  3. For phone interviews practice having a conversation with a couple of different phones ahead of time.
  4. Stand up during your phone interviews; it expands the diaphragm giving you better air flow and can help with confidence
  5. For an in-person interview take a look at the building in person and/or via Google Maps & Google Earth before the day of the interview. It will help you feel more comfortable with the location.
  6. If you do visit in person see if you can talk with the receptionist or a security guard. This too will help you feel more comfortable on the day of the interview and potentially give you a friendly face that will greet you on the big day.
  7. Lay out your clothes ahead of time or perhaps even try them on to see if there will be anything distracting you.
  8. Prepare a calming action that you can surreptitiously do during the interview. A couple of days before the interview start programming your mind by thinking of the best success you have had at work or the best memory you can think of. While doing that rub your thumb lightly on the side of your index finger on your off hand. This will prime your brain to think of that as a calming/empowering gesture. During the interview do the same action, especially if you start to feel anxious.
  9. Bring notes into the interview; notes like projects you worked on, skills that you have or reminders on how to handle the interview. You may think it unprofessional but forgetting something important or feeling unprepared will hurt you anyway; what do you have to lose? Some people have even commended me on my preparation.
  10. Bring a notepad to take notes during the interview. It can give you a moment to calm yourself by writing down (or pretending to) and again, will help you feel more confident. Be sure to write the names of the people you meet with.

While not foolproof these steps can help make the rough interview smoother and help you make a great impression.

1 comment:

  1. Tks very much for your post.

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