Going to an interview is both exciting and stressful. No matter how well you prepare, you never know what type of question might be thrown your way, especially if you have a disability. Not only is it important to know how to discuss your disability, but it’s also important to know what your interviewer can and can’t ask you.
By following the tips outlined below, you can be better prepared to discuss your disability in any interview.
1. Inform the company interviewing you of your disability before your interview, especially if you have accessibility needs. Letting your interviewer know this is not only professional and courteous, but it also helps both you and them better prepare for your meeting.
2. Become aware of the rules of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as well as its definition of a disability, which ensures employers can’t discriminate against anyone with a disability. As long as you meet the education, experience, and skills required for the job, a prospective employer can’t refuse to interview or hire you because of your disability.
3. Become aware of the questions that an interviewer can’t ask you. Questions about what kind of medication you take or what type of treatment you are receiving are not allowed during the interview, as they are in violation of the ADA. If these questions are asked, steer the conversation in another direction by asking about the job requirements, so you can decide if your disability will impede your job performance, or whether your prospective employer will need to make accommodations.
4. Keep a positive and professional attitude. No matter what question comes your way, always project positivism. Your goal is to let your interviewer know that you possess the skill set and knowledge to perform the job, regardless of your disability.
5. Don’t hide your disability. Whether your disability is visible or hidden, you should never keep it a secret. Of course, this doesn’t mean it needs to be the only topic of conversation. Instead, focus the interview on your successes and what makes you the right candidate for the position.
6. Always be prepared. In addition to the tips listed above, don’t forget to dress professionally and do your research on the job, your interviewer, and the company. Looking the part and knowing your stuff is the best way to show you are the perfect match for the job.
Professional Diversity Network reminds you to join our ProAble Network, where we connect you with companies who are looking for diverse candidates like yourself. If you are currently a member, don’t forget to update your profile and network with other professionals with disabilities.