How to Answer Questions About Your Disability in an Interview in 2020
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How to Answer Tough Job Interview Questions About Your Disability
Today, one in five people have some sort of disability. While some are visibly noticeable, others are not.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits employers from asking questions about your disability. That means you don't have to talk about it at all and can focus on what you can bring to the organization.
But sometimes, the best way to answer those tough job interview questions is by talking about your disability.
Read on to learn the best way to bring your disability up and what to say to help you get the job.
To Disclose or Not to Disclose?
Applicants are not required to disclose a disability at the time they apply for a job, even if they later need a workplace accommodation.
A person can legally wait until they require accommodation before disclosing. But some applicants with visible disabilities sometimes choose to disclose their disability to clear the air and clear up any misconceptions the interviews might have.
Remember, even if an interviewer is genuinely curious and interested in learning more about your disability, he or she is prohibited from asking. So, you'll both be sitting with an elephant in the room.
Some people find that disclosing a disability makes the interviewers more comfortable and demonstrates the applicant's confidence and ease. By addressing your disability frankly, you take out the potential awkwardness so that everyone can focus on how great of a candidate you are for the job.
Also, you might want to disclose your disability to explain gaps in your resume. But how do you bring it up so that it serves you?
Discuss and Dispel
One of the best strategies for how to ace a job interview when you bring up a disability is to discuss and dispel.
You want to explain how your disability impacts your professional life so that it is clear that you can do the job.
Remember, not everyone is familiar with the facts of certain disabilities. You can take this opportunity to give accurate, factual information.
Keep in mind that you don't have to explain your prognosis, how your disability developed and so on. This isn't a medical interview, after all.
Employers can ask about how you would perform the duties required for the role without referencing your disability. This is your chance to explain how you are able to do the work. If you are blind for example, you can talk about how you use certain voice-activated software to type. Explain how well that worked for you in other jobs and talk about your excellent productivity stats if you have any.
This leads us to our next tip: always share your disability-based strengths.
Share Disability-Based Strengths
The word disability is a bit of a misnomer. The connotation is that your abilities are lesser than other people. In fact, a disability just means that you have to do things in a different way.
Often, dealing with disabilities can make a person have commendable personal characteristics such as the ability to adapt, be resourceful, and to be extremely organized.
These soft skills are things employers want! It doesn't really matter if you learned these skills through life experience, a former job or through your disability.
Plus, your disability may have made you fluent in software, hardware and research skills that may be an asset to the organization. If you have a medical condition, you might also have in-depth knowledge about insurance, benefits laws and business.
The point is to show your interviewer all the things you bring to the table.
As you know, some of the most dreaded job interview questions have to do with weaknesses. There are also the awful situational job interview questions where you are put on the spot.
When asked those tough job interview questions, don't be afraid to spin the answers to show how you have turned a negative into a positive in your professional life.
How to Bring up Your Disability
By now you're wondering, OK but how exactly (and when) do I bring up my disability?
Well, you probably don't want to open with that. You don't let your disability define you and so you shouldn't let that be how you define yourself upon meeting the interviewers.
Your best bet is to work it casually into the conversation. When asked those tough interview questions like, "why should we hire you" and "what are your strengths?" is the perfect chance to bring up the positive connotations of your disability.
Talk about how it's influenced the way you handle life's challenges and how it has molded your personality to be more X, Y, Z.
That shows confidence and leadership as opposed to blurting it out as you shake hands.
Once you've mentioned your disability (and dispelled common misconceptions about your limitations), move on.
You can bring it up whenever it makes sense over the course of the interview, but don't dwell on it.
Your qualifications, experience, and skills are what matter most here. So wherever it serves you, talk about it. Otherwise, focus on selling yourself as the best candidate for the role.
Final Thoughts on Navigating Tough Job Interview Questions
Thanks for reading! We hope reading about how to handle those tough job interview questions about your disability gives you the encouragement you need to blaze a new path for your life.
At disABLEDperson, our mission is to reduce the high unemployment rate of individuals and veterans with disabilities. Check out our job board to find a variety of employment options for you to consider.