How to Survive a Job Interview When You Have a Disability
Imagine that you are embarking on a journey through a dense and unfamiliar forest. You have a map, compass, and a backpack full of tools to help you navigate the terrain.
Now, imagine that you are also blind. You may not be able to see the map or the compass, but you have your other senses and your backpack full of tools. You might use a cane to feel for obstacles, or a guide dog to lead you. You might listen for the sound of a river to guide you, or you might use your sense of smell to identify different types of plants and animals.
The point is, having a disability may present some challenges, but you also have unique strengths and abilities. When it comes to job interviews, this is important to remember. Focusing on the skills that make you a strong candidate is much better than dwelling on your limitations.
“Fear shouldn’t be a barrier to being understood on where you fit in an employment opportunity” states Richard Pearl of Bona Fide Conglomerate. This may seem intimidating, but it’s actually a good thing for several reasons.
First, “Disclosing a less than obvious disability is in your best interests. It gives the employer a better understanding of what accommodations can be provided to benefit and improve your work skills.” Accommodations might include providing assistive technology or adjusting the layout of a work area.
Second, disclosing your disability shows the employer that you are proactive and willing to communicate. “It gives them a great starting point on what they could entrust and expect of you as an individual.” By demonstrating your willingness to work with the employer to find solutions, you show that you are committed to your own success.
And of course, you should never be afraid to be honest about who you are and what you can do. An authentic and genuine person can be very appealing to employers, especially in today’s diverse and inclusive job market.
“Fear shouldn’t be a barrier to being understood on where you fit in an employment opportunity” states Richard Pearl of Bona Fide Conglomerate.
Richard recommends a practical exercise to help you be prepared. “Prepare yourself with a friend or family member to give you some reassurance. If you believe that you can breeze through the interview, you likely will. Practice explaining your strengths and weaknesses so that you’re better prepared to apply them to any uncommon questions. This can help you through the interview without being too apprehensive.”
So, when it comes to job interviews, don’t be afraid to disclose your disability and communicate your needs. Remember to focus on your strengths and abilities. By doing so, you will show the employer that you are a confident and capable candidate who is ready to tackle any challenge that comes your way.