How to Interview for a Job when You Have a Hangover

Oh no! You forgot about that important interview today when you went out drinking last night, and now there are gremlins with pickaxes working the inside your skull, your stomach is staging a violent overthrow, and your mouth is full of sand. You're going to need more than just you’re “A” game if you want this job—interviewing with a hangover requires good preparation before the interview and some fine acting skills if you want to get through the discussion without being shown the door.

*** Method 1 of 2: Before the Interview

1. Drink electrolyte-replenishing sports drinks as soon as possible. This will help ease any symptoms of dehydration, which often goes hand in hand with a hangover.

- The processes that break down alcohol also produce lactic acid and other chemicals that interfere with the production of glucose (sugar) and electrolytes; that's why sports drinks are a good idea.

-       While coffee will help with alertness, it actually dehydrates your system, and might further upset your stomach, so avoid it.

2. Pop a pill. Taking a non-acetaminophen over-the-counter painkiller like aspirin or ibuprofen can be beneficial. Take a few extras with you if you are going to be interviewed outside the recommended time frame for taking the next pills.

3. Eat a hangover-bashing breakfast. Make a bacon sandwich (with burnt toast) with a side of bouillon soup.

4. Use eye drops to remove redness. A few drops of solution may help. Follow the directions and give the drops approximately half an hour to start working.

5. Go through your typical grooming routine. Showering and grooming will be especially important as you may look (and smell) like something the cat dragged in. Be sure you wash well to reduce the possibility that you still smell like a beer-soaked cigarette butt.

6. Dab concealer over under-eye bags. Even men will benefit from a few dabs of concealing make-up if dark circles or bags have surfaced due to a night of partying.

7. Check it before you wreck it. Have a friend or spouse give you the “once over” before you leave. Have someone else evaluate how you look before you leave and ask for an honest opinion. Ask your friend or spouse for suggestions if they think you look disheveled or unprofessional.

8. Rehearse how you plan to respond to questions. Your brain may not be working at full capacity so try to keep answers and comments concise and to the point, remembering that you might have a tendency to ramble just to cover up your pain or distress.

9. Be punctual. As with any interview situation, hangover or not, your punctuality is crucial to a good beginning. If you're late, not only is this the first blot on your character but it will intensify the scrutiny of your presentation and appearance; it's only human to start wondering what might have caused the tardiness.

10. Know when to reschedule. While you may not want to reschedule the interview, heading out may do more damage than good, especially where the interview is with the firm you're already working for and everyone knows your usual bubbly self.

11. Bring water with you. Drink lots of water beforehand, and consider taking along a water bottle to your interview. Having such an item is commonplace and if you do need to hydrate during the interview and water hasn't been provided to you, you can excuse yourself to take a sip from the bottle where needed.

*** Method 2 of 2: During the Interview

1. Be minty fresh. Just before the interview starts, use a strong breath mint or strip. It's important to get rid of any traces of alcohol in your breath, which might still be lingering in your lungs.

2. Realize that your concentration is probably going to be below par during this interview. This means that you'll need to try extra hard to stay focused and to really listen to the questions.

3. Don't lose your focus. Pick a spot in the room behind the interviewer's head that you can use to keep refocusing your attention on.

4. Take great care not to fidget. Fidgeting comes from nerves, boredom and wanting to be distracted (or somewhere else). Unfortunately, if you're experiencing a hangover, you may just be feeling all three things and be tempted to fidget to overcome the desire to leave or fall asleep.

5. Breathe deeply. Taking deep breaths during the interview will not only help you relax, but it'll also ensure that your blood is getting enough oxygen and make you feel a little bit more fresh and alert. Sit up straight, and avoid sighing when you exhale.


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