Preparing for a job interview when you know someone might ask about your criminal record can cause angst. Knowing how to discuss your past can make a considerable difference in your confidence.
There are ways you can put a positive spin on your former experiences. Your familiarity with some of these strategies can help you prepare for a successful and memorable interview.
Highlight lessons learned
Chances are you have learned a number of lessons from your involvement in drugs. For example, you might have learned not to hide from your problems. If you experienced addiction, you may have learned important lessons about humility and taking ownership of your mistakes. You could have also developed problem-solving skills, critical thinking and productive coping mechanisms. Positive thinking, inclusion and teamwork, and responsibility are other lessons you may have learned.
When confronted with questions about your drug use, answer honestly and directly. However, you do not need to overshare details. Rather, redirect the conversation to the lessons you have learned. Highlight how these experiences have enabled you to develop critical skills that will make a notable difference in the workplace.
It is not unlikely that you will need to answer questions about your criminal history. In fact, according to LinkedIn, it is legal for employers to inquire about your past. However, you have the ability to shape their impression of you through your behavior. Arrive for your interview a few minutes early. Greet everyone with a strong handshake, a welcoming smile and eye contact. Dress appropriately for the interview and have a good posture.
Speak with dignity and professionalism. Exude self-confidence. The way you carry yourself will say a lot about you and the belief you place in yourself. When you can help others see your potential, you may be well on your way to securing a great job despite the experiences of your past.