Tips for Disabled Applicants to Ace a Job Interview
Interviews are stressful for everyone! We all get the pre-interview jitters and second guess ourselves. Being prepared is key! We hope the below tips will equip you to ace your next interview and can provide you with a fresh sense of hope.
Preparing: Learn as much as you can about the company job you are applying for. Make sure you understand what the company does and what the job requires. Be ready to answer the question “Why do you want to work here?” Also be ready to talk about your skills and strengths. Practice answering these questions with someone you know.
Interview Accommodations: Under the ADA, you are entitled to reasonable accommodations during the interview process and anytime during your employment. If you need an accommodation for the interview itself, (such as closed captions if on Zoom) be sure to send an email to the hiring manager / recruiter in advance of the interview. It may take some time for them to arrange it, so you should give them as much notice as possible.
What to Bring: You should bring a copy of your up-to-date resume, a notepad, and something to write with. Bring any other documents that the employer requests, such as an application or references from past employers/ teachers.
What to Wear: As a pro-tip, it’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed! Wear work appropriate clothes like a button down shirt and slacks (no jeans, t-shirts, sneakers, or flip flops). With Zoom interviews, make sure to have a nice shirt on, but don’t worry about your bottoms!
First Impressions: Make sure you arrive 5 to 10 minutes before your interview time. Never be late or too early! If your interview is in-person, give yourself extra time, especially if you are taking public transportation. Turn off your cell phone. If the interview is virtual, mute your notification sounds so that there are no interruptions during the interview itself. For in-person interviews, be sure to say hello, introduce yourself, shake their hand, and look them in the eye! Eye contact is always important for first impressions!
The Interview: Listen to everything the interviewer says and make sure you answer the question they ask. If you have trouble keeping up, take notes during the interview to remember points from the question being asked. If the interview says something that upsets you, remain calm and try not to react. This is your time to focus on your strengths!
Asking Questions: Remember, you are interviewing the company just as they are interviewing you! Come prepared with at least five questions that you have about the company. You may not get to all of your questions (aim to ask three!), but being prepared is key. Always include a question that shows you’ve researched the company you’re applying for.
Discussing your Disability: Hiring managers are not allowed to ask you about your disability and you do not need to mention your disability during the interview at all. It is up to you when and if you want to discuss your illness or disability. If you need accommodation(s) at the workplace, you can wait until after you are offered the job to request the accommodation. However, if you feel comfortable sharing, this is a good time to see if the company is a good fit from an accessibility standpoint.
End of Interview: Be sure to thank the interview and shake the interviewer’s hand again (if the interview is in-person). Final impressions matter just as much as first impressions!
Post Interview: After the interview, definitely send a thank you email or note to the person who interviewed you. Not only does this show gratitude, but it shows initiative and that you have strong communication skills.
NDEAM celebrates both the past and present contributions of workers with disabilities in America. Importantly, NDEAM serves as a mechanism through which supportive and inclusive employment practices and policies for all workers, especially those who have a disability(s) can be showcased, advocated for, and encouraged.
Growing up with an invisible disability has taught me that there are some people who are ignorant, unaware they are exhibiting audist behaviors. It’s because the hearing person has never met a deaf person before and will try to walk away because they don’t know how to interact with them. People who don’t feel comfortable have a tendency to get away from something so they don’t have to deal with it. That can be frustrating for deaf people.
Empathy is something that I believe is truly lacking in today’s society. “It’s gotten harder to empathize; that’s why it’s so important we work at it. Luckily, we can.” says Jamil Zaki in this UC Berkley article, 'In a Divided World, We Need to Choose Empathy'. The article discusses the hard truths surrounding empathy, supported by real-life examples and proven facts about how it can help us all.
I will never forget November 19th, 2019. My new rheumatologist broke the news this way: “I bet you have been told your entire life that your weight was the cause of your back pain. I want you to know it wasn’t, although weight loss can certainly help. We see the damage, and you were right - you have Ankylosing Spondylitis.”
As the weather heats up and we feel the urge to travel, I want to share some tips that have helped me keep my anxiety at bay while away from home. Many mental health illnesses flare up when we are away from home because we are naturally out of our comfort zone.
Existing as a disabled woman in the workplace, we face any number of barriers to getting our jobs done but none more painful and avoidable than the ignorance of our peers.
I knew I was an actor before I knew I was Autistic. I started acting at 11 years old, but I wasn’t diagnosed until I was 22.
There are many misconceptions about the lives of those of us who live with CP. I hope to help someone who may be living, loving, or just learning about Cerebral Palsy.
While many of us know the benefits of closed captions, many Zoom users still have not enabled closed captions. While this used to only be offer to 'paid' Zoom accounts, the company announced earlier this year that closed captions would be available to all Zoom users, regardless of plan type.