Is It a Good Idea to Mention a Disability During a Job Interview?
After searching for jobs you can work disabled and submitting your
resume, the next step is the interview process. One of the biggest questions
you need to ask yourself before a job interview is whether or not you want to
disclose your disability to the interviewer. On one hand, you should be upfront
about your needs, yet you may worry that disclosing your disability could put
you at a disadvantage during the hiring process. As you get ready for your
interview, think about the following points to help you figure out just how
much to say from the beginning.
Consider the Nature of Your Disability
When your disability is obvious, it usually makes sense to bring it up in the interview just to get everything out in the open. However, some disabilities are hidden, or you may only face the symptoms of your condition periodically. In these cases, you may choose to reveal your disability only if it begins to affect your work. This is a common choice with mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression that only generate symptoms severe enough to require sporadic accommodations.
Determine Your Need for Accommodations
When you feel disclosure is important during the interview, be prepared to explain the types of accommodations you might need to perform the job duties, as this opens up a dialogue that can help you determine if the position is a good fit. While employers must make reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities, they’re also not required to do so if it causes undue hardship. For instance, a wheelchair ramp may not be possible to install in a historical building with limited space. However, explaining that you simply need a lower countertop to work from due to using a wheelchair may put the interviewer at ease.
Check Out the Company’s History of Hiring People with Disabilities
You can usually get a good understanding of a company’s current hiring practices by doing some research. For instance, they may include images of people with disabilities in their advertisements or hiring brochures. If you already know the company is disability-friendly, you can feel comfortable moving ahead with a disclosure right away.
Choose How Much to Share
You can also disclose your disability without going into all of the details. For example, you may want to tell the interviewer you have mobility limitations that cause you to use a walking aid. However, you don’t have to share your specific health diagnosis. Many people choose to share on a need-to-know basis only, and this method allows you to be honest without putting the possibility of getting a job on the line.
Keep the Emphasis on Your Skills
As always, keep the interview positive. Once you disclose your disability, feel free to share how you overcome obstacles. For instance, you could show them your customized van or explain that you take a shuttle to work if they’re curious about your ability to get to work on time in a wheelchair. After sharing how you get the job done, move forward to the next questions in the interview that address the skill set you bring to the position.
If you don’t land the first job you interview for, don’t get discouraged. There are many suitable jobs for disabled men and women, and you can find many of these jobs among the listings provided by disABLEDperson, Inc. For additional job-hunting tips, check out our blog, and feel free to call us at 760-420-1269 if you have any questions.