Should I Mention My Disability in an Interview? The quesiton continues to be relevant in 2020

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Should I Mention My Disability in an Interview?

You’ve got a job interview set up this week. Ever since you got the phone call, one question has been replaying over and over again in your mind: should I mention my disability in an interview?

It can be a tricky situation. While the law states that employers can’t discriminate and must provide accommodations for disabled individuals, some bosses just can’t be bothered to deal with it. Why do companies ask if you have a disability on the application and interview you if they’re only going to judge you and not hire you?

Keep reading to learn how to navigate through this tough situation and use your disability to your own advantage.

The Law 

The ADA put two important laws into place. The first one is that an employer can't discriminate against you if you have a disability. The second law is that they are required to provide accommodations for you. 

Under the ADA, you don't have to disclose your disability. If you never disclose, however, the employer isn't required to make accommodations for you. 

Should I Mention My Disability in an Interview? 

In some cases, disclosing your disability will help you more than hinder you. It can put both you and the interviewer at ease and it gives you the chance to show off your confidence believe it or not.

It Puts Things at Ease

Due to ADA regulations, the interviewer can't outright ask you about your disability unless you mention it. That doesn't mean they won't be curious if your disability is one that is easily identifiable. 

Choosing to disclose early on (at an appropriate moment) opens the interviewer up to ask questions and it will make them feel more at ease. Now they can focus less on your disability and more on your quality as a candidate. 

It Can Show Your Confidence

You can take your disability and use it in your favor for certain interview questions. For example, when the interviewer asks you what your strengths are you can say something like "my disability has given me the strength of character that other candidates simply don't have". 

This response will show the employer that you have confidence which is quite sought after in the workplace. 

How to Know if You Need to Disclose 

If you're still not sure if you should disclose there are a few situations that you can look out for. If you need accommodations, for example, the employer will need to know. 

Do You Need Accommodations? 

If you need accommodations of any kind that will cause an employer to make a change to the layout of the office, they need to know about that right away. They won't be able to give you a wheelchair-friendly desk if you don't tell them you need it.

If you will need to step out on a regular basis to take medications, they should know that. Needing these accommodations won't necessarily cause the employer to toss your application away. So, it can be better in some cases to be open and honest right away. 

Will Not Disclosing Make Things More Difficult? 

If you're trying to dance around telling your employer that you have a disability it can make some interview questions a little difficult to answer. 

If you have a gap in your work history, the interviewer is most likely going to ask about it. You can use your disability to explain it. 

Is the Employer Disability-Friendly? 

If you're worried about disclosing, do a little research on the employer before you throw your application into the ring. If they are a disability-friendly business than having one isn't going to affect their opinion of you much at all. 

When to Disclose

So, you've decided that you want to disclose your disability. Now comes the question of when do you talk to the interviewer about it. Before, during, or after the interview are all viable choices. 

Before the Interview 

If you have a visible disability, it may be a good idea for you to disclose before the interview. Doing so will allow you to keep the focus of the interview on your skills and qualifications. 

During the Interview 

Employers are always looking for flexible employees who have no problems adjusting to the workplace. You may be thinking that your disability puts you at a disadvantage on this front but it doesn't. 

You've had to work hard to adapt to an environment that isn't always tailored to fit your needs. You're the most flexible candidate that they'll most likely interview that day.

Besides that, the interview process is a good time for the employer to ask you questions about what accommodations you need. Again, they can't legally bring it up unless you talk about it first. 

After the Interview

So, your interview went great and you were hired. Should you disclose your disability before your first day. The answer is yes if you're going to need some kind of accommodation. 

If you have to step out during the day to take medication or need to take your lunch at certain times, it's better the employer knows about that ahead of time so they aren't thrown off guard on your first day. 

Disclosing Your Disability to an Employer

Should I mention my disability in an interview? It can be a little tricky. You don't want the employer to not consider you for the job because you'll have to have accommodations. 

In some cases, however, it's better to come clean than to not. If you're not ready yet though, no pressure. By law, you're not required to disclose. 

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