Interviewing Strategies for Americans with Disabilities
By: AJE Recruiting Specialist
If you are among unemployed Americans, one of the most stressful parts of the job search is the interview process. For disabled Americans, they face unique challenges specific to them. Below are some helpful strategies you can employ as you prepare. We also recommend you discuss job search and interview related issues with your support, networking and advocacy groups.
Now that you have been asked for an interview, disclosure of your disability - before you enter the hiring manager’s door - is recommended. As with any candidate, interviewers need to prepare for each individual, and providing details about you in advance shows a courteous and professional manner. If you have a hidden disability, disclosure should be addressed on a case-by-case basis. However, it is important to remember that transparency during the interview process is important, and disclosing any issues that may impact day to day job performance is always recommended.
Attitude is everything, and as simple as it sounds, a positive one is vital to the impression you give during the interview. Projecting the right attitude means you are saying that you are confident in your skills and abilities. You are also making people at ease with your disability.
Deflect questions about your disability, if they come up, to conversations about job success. This shows that you have the ability to perform the task at hand, regardless of your disability. Do not hide from your disability, but do not focus on it during the interview either. This is the time to talk about your unique skills and the job at hand. The landmark Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which was enacted on July 26, 1990 prohibits hiring employers from discriminating against Americans with disabilities. The law stipulates that employers must consider all prospective qualified applicants who can perform related functions specific to the job. Visit ADA hiring regulations for more information.
Know what you are talking about. Many a job candidate will enter a hiring manager’s office without doing their due diligence - research. Always be prepared to discuss the company in detail. Research is readily available through corporate websites. You should also take the time to research competitors. Asking detailed questions shows interviewers that you are professional and prepared.
Tell a good story. When and wherever possible, relay anecdotes about past performance. This can include stories about your problem-solving abilities, how you used your creativity to propel projects forward, and your team-playing skills.
You need a job, they need to hire. Remember that hiring managers need to fill open positions. Demonstrate that you are the right candidate by relaying details of past work experience. Outline your credentials, and position yourself as a good fit for their company.
Lastly, always dress professionally. The general rule for interview dress code is less is more. For women, wear conservative attire - professional or casual, depending on the company. Do not wear too much jewelry or make-up. For men, the same holds true in terms of attire. Also make sure you are well-groomed - clean shaven and combed hair.
If you are not registered with us, register today and apply to jobs in our Disability Exchange, where employers are seeking candidates rich in talent, just like you.