Job interviews can be nerve-wracking, whether or not you have a disability. Employers are always looking for individuals who are confident in their abilities with the right mindset. Having disabilities does not mean that you cannot get the job done, but you may need to request certain accommodations.
Disabilities come in all forms, including invisible disabilities. Examples include chronic or debilitating pain, cognitive dysfunction, mental health issues or even progressive diseases.
Disclosing your disability during the interview can be advantageous
Your disclosure will put the room at ease (especially if it is a physical disability). It also lets your potential employer know that you are comfortable speaking about it.
This also shows that you are confident in getting the job done, regardless of your disability.
Lastly, it allows you to connect with the other people in the room. Honesty goes a long way when it comes to building trust between individuals, which is extremely important during a job interview.
Ways to disclose your disability during the interview
Focus on what you can do
In every job interview, interviewees will have to convince their potential employer that they fit the job requirements. You can further explain in detail how you can get your job done with your disabilities. For example, if a job requires you to move from one spot to another, you can tell them that you will get around with a wheelchair.
Present potential problems and solutions
Discuss potential obstacles that you foresee yourself experiencing on the job and ways you can overcome them. Employers will be more impressed with individuals who take the initiative to create a detailed plan on how they can execute their work.
Request for reasonable accommodations
Let your potential employer know how they can support and help you perform at your very best. This includes things like ergonomic office furniture, flexible work hours or even work from home days. You can also present your medical documentation to further strengthen your need for such accommodations.
Only discuss what is necessary about your disability
Briefly explain your disability to your potential employer, especially if it is a visible one. You don’t have to go into details if they have nothing to do with the way that you execute your job.
Pick a proper time to disclose your disability
Timing is everything. Consider disclosing your disability after securing an in-person interview. This is so that your potential employer can evaluate your skills based on your CV and avoid any form of prejudice.
Disclosing your disability during a job interview may be a terrifying thought. But in the long run, it will bring you more good than harm. It lets you reduce any misconceptions and better explain how you can succeed in the role you’re applying for. Having disabilities does not mean that you are not excellent at what you do – it just means that you may have to do it slightly differently and that’s okay.
Abilities.com (2020) Seeing before Believing Problematic for Invisible Disabilities [Accessed: 23 Mar 2020] Available at: https://www.abilities.com/community/invisible-disabilities.html
Dan W. (2016) Talking About Your Disability at Work [Accessed: 23 Mar 2020] Available at: https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/talking-about-your-disability-at-work
Dibs B. (2019) 5 Steps to Disclosing an Invisible Disability at Work [Accessed: 23 Mar 2020] Available at: https://www.themuse.com/advice/if-when-how-disclose-invisible-disability-at-work
Lauren H. (2020.) Real Talk: Here’s How You Should Actually Interview When You Have a Disability [Accessed: 23 Mar 2020] Available at: https://www.themuse.com/advice/real-talk-heres-how-you-should-actually-interview-when-you-have-a-disability
Lizz S. (2019) How to Disclose a Disability to Your Employer (and Whether You Should) [Accessed: 23 Mar 2020] Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/10/smarter-living/disclose-disability-work-employer-rights.html
Margaret S. (2016) Five Tips for Job Hunting with a Disability [Accessed: 23 Mar 2020] Available at: https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/5-tips-for-jobhunting-with-a-disability-hot-jobs