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Handling a Job Interview in Recovery

Handling a Job Interview in Recovery

Handling a Job Interview in Recovery

Your palms are sweating. You are running through possible questions and answers in your head.

You’ve looked in the mirror several times to make sure your hair is in order and there is nothing in your teeth.  The interview process can make you feel like you are on display, and if you are in early recovery, you may be worried about how you will come off.

Finding a Job After Rehab

Finding a job after going through a drug detox and getting sober can be intimidating. In rehab, your life centered around working through your substance abuse; now you are back in the real world and need to find employment.

Getting a job in recovery is important not just because you need to be able to support yourself, but also because it can be good for your sobriety. A job can keep you busy, help you feel productive, and even give your life more meaning. For someone in early recovery who may be triggered by boredom, trying to fill a void, and struggling to find purpose, a fulfilling job could be the answer.

Finding employment can be a full-time job in itself. While you should be checking online for job postings, you may also want to talk with your recovery team from rehab. They may have resources or even connections that could help you find a job after rehab.

Job Interview Tips When You Are In Recovery

Before you can land your dream job, you need to first go for an interview. While some people may enjoy the job interview process, many other people dread it. Especially if you are looking for your first job after residential addiction treatment, you may be nervous and concerned about how to explain your lapse in employment while you were in treatment. Follow these tips for handling a job interview in recovery to help you get the job you want.

Make A Decision

The most challenging part of a job interview in recovery is likely what to tell the company. For you, it may feel like the elephant in the room. Deciding whether or not to tell the interviewer you are sober is a personal decision, and some people may be more comfortable than others disclosing this information. In many instances, you may be able to avoid the topic altogether. Unfortunately, while employers are not allowed to discriminate against you for this reason, it may still change their perception of you. No matter what, you should not lie on the interview, so if they ask you something about your lapse in employment, you need some kind of honest answer prepared. If you do disclose your recovery, be sure not to dwell on the past and focus more on the future.

Know Your Rights

Depending on the state, interviewers are not able to ask you certain questions. If you are feeling uneasy about going for an interview after addiction recovery, you may want to look into what these restrictions are so you know exactly what can and cannot be asked. Knowing ahead of time what is off-limits and having prepared answers for what isn’t can help put your mind at ease.

Dress Professionally

You can never be overdressed, especially for an interview. You should dress professionally and be well-groomed for the interview. Especially if you plan to disclose that you are in recovery, you want to look put together because many people have negative perceptions about how addicts look. Being well-groomed can separate you from this negative image and show the interviewer that you are serious about the position.


Practice makes perfect. To avoid stumbling on your words during the interview, practice your interview skills beforehand. Think about your answers to common interview questions. Also have a loved one stage a mock interview so they can help you identify what you do well and opportunities for improvement.

Research the Company

Like with any interview, you should research the company beforehand. You want to make sure the company is a good fit for you as well. Knowing a little bit about the company’s history, philosophies, and mission can also help you in the interview process as many interviewers will ask you what you know about the company. You may also find that the founder or history of the company has a background that may make them more sympathetic or understanding of your recovery journey.

Ask Questions

Along with researching the company, you need to come with a list of questions that you want to ask them. A job should be a two-way street, and you want to make sure that the company is a good fit for you as well. Come prepared with questions about everything from your daily duties to the job’s benefits. These questions can show how serious you are about getting the job.

Plan for After

Besides writing a thank you note, you may need to practice some self-care after the interview. A job interview in recovery can be stressful. Especially if your substance abuse is tied to your nerves and interviews make your anxiety worse, plan ahead for a way to unwind and ease your anxiety after the interview. You may be feeling slightly triggered, so it is important to check your sobriety and calm your nerves after. Try to plan something relaxing or rewarding immediately following the interview, so you can get yourself back to center.

At our Boca behavioral health center, we help people with both substance abuse problems and mental health disorders move past these issues and lead more productive lives. Recovery is a life-long journey, and we want to help you and your loved one get there.

To learn more about our programs at Banyan Boca and how we may be able to help you or your loved one, call us today at 888-280-4763.

Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.
Handling a Job Interview in Recovery
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