By: Mordy Tiefenbrunn, M.S.W.
Congratulations! You sat and searched, and once that job description caught your eye, you bravely sent off your CV to the email listed, and you’ve been offered a chance to interview for that exciting new position.
Only now, you’re starting to freak out because you, like many other people in the world, have a condition known as Psoriasis. Even though about 1 in every 50 people worldwide have it, perhaps you’re feeling like you are the only one who is affected, and feel shame over the marks and splotches on your skin. Maybe you even feel that you are totally not hire-worthy because of it. After all, who wants to hire someone who will have to take random days off to recover from a flare-up, or whose productivity will be low when they are sitting at their desk feeling uncomfortable and bothered by symptoms.
This is exactly what we at 7Chairs want to assist you with. To help you normalize your condition, to accept that you too can be productive and even excel at your job and not have to be scared that even if you do get called for an interview, you’ll bomb it just from them looking at you when you walk in the room.
So, we’ve compiled a list of three tips to help you when interviewing for that job you want so badly.
1- Dress to Impress: When interviewing, the age-old adage that first impressions are important really applies. Even if you have visible plaques or aren’t feeling well enough to get all dressed up, the interviewer will be impressed that you made the effort, that you respect the position being offered. If you decide to expose your condition, you could say something like: “I have psoriasis and its not contagious.” You could even be straightforward and mention that you need some days off on occasion when the psoriasis is inflamed. On the other hand, it is totally ok to decide not to disclose and it’s completely within your rights. You are entitled to disclose when you feel most comfortable. The most important thing is that you remember your strengths, remember your self-worth, you were called for this interview based on your merit, someone saw your talent, and psoriasis is no reason for you to prevent yourself from pursuing your dream job.
2- Anxiety Reduction: Psoriasis particularly flares up during times of high stress. With this in mind, in whatever amount of time you have before the interview, make sure you take up a notch your own personal self-care as much as you can. Make sure you get enough sleep in the nights leading up to the interview, take relaxing baths or showers every night, be conscientious about taking your medications and applying your creams and ointments. Meditation, breathing exercises and any other forms of calming and relaxation techniques are also helpful. All of this preparation is to assure that when you finally get into the interview room, you have spent a few solid days getting your body and mind into a prime relaxed state so that you can focus on presenting your best self, saying what you want to say.
3- Practice Your Pitch, Say it with Confidence: Speaking about yourself at a job interview is never an easy thing to do. It is made even more challenging when disclosing a condition such as Psoriasis for which special arrangements may need to be made to accommodate with comfort. A good idea would be to write down bullet points about yourself depicting you as a hard-working candidate, as well as what your potential needs are given your medical situation. Then, either in front of a mirror or a friend you trust who will listen to you and give you constructive feedback, practice saying the things about yourself that are important and that you want to put on the table ahead of time. Don’t be afraid of losing a potential job just because you have medical needs, and don’t forget that having Psoriasis-related needs is perfectly legitimate and acceptable as having adjustments made for employees living with diabetes, epilepsy, or even severe allergies.
The critical thing to keep in mind is that the right job will come for you at the right time. Building confidence in yourself and in the legitimacy of your needs will go a long way when you are trying to impress yourself or a potential employer.
Remember...YOU’VE GOT THIS!