Job Searching With a Disability | How to Prepare for the Interview ProcessIdealist and MDA Quest Media Sep 25, 2023 10:00 AM
For job seekers with disabilities, the job search may include questions and challenges that others may not regularly come up against. In addition to wondering whether the roles you’re applying for are a fit, you may also be concerned about how to discuss your disability with potential employers during a job interview.
Should you bring up your disability in an interview or wait until you’ve received a job offer? How do you showcase your disability as a strength? When is the best time to discuss the workplace accommodations you may require?
To help you navigate the interview process confidently and comfortably, Idealist partnered with the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s (MDA) Quest Media team. Here is everything you need to know before, during, and after an interview.
When you're scheduling an interview
If you’ve been invited to interview, then you’ve already demonstrated to the hiring manager that your skills and experience are a good match for the role—now is the time to find out whether the organization is right for you, too.
Here are some points to consider when scheduling an interview:
In the interview
As you prepare to answer questions about your background and interest in the position, you may wonder whether now is the “right time” to disclose your disability. The truth is, there is no point in the hiring process when you need to disclose a disability; you are the expert on your own experience, so only you can decide whether disclosing will help you feel more comfortable during the process.
On the one hand, talking candidly about a disability can help you control the narrative about your day-to-day, including how it makes you a stronger candidate for the role. If a physical disability affects whether you can shake hands, stand for long periods of time, or give a presentation, disclosing may help you clarify your abilities and request reasonable workplace accommodations.
However, you may be concerned that once disclosed, the interviewer will focus more on your disability than your qualifications. It can be stressful to think about whether disclosing will cause an interviewer’s possible bias to affect the hiring process, but remember that your background enabled you to land the interview in the first place. If an organization cannot recognize your competencies, then it may not be the place for you.
Additionally, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits employers from asking job applicants about a disability during an interview; knowing which questions are legal (and which are not!) can help you pivot the conversation back to relevant information, such as how your skills and experience will help you succeed in the role.
When you’re considering a job offer
Receiving an offer is without a doubt the best part of the job search. As you consider whether or not to accept the position, here are some additional resources to help you make a decision:
Starting a new role is an exciting part of your career journey. As you prepare for your first day on the job, check out our helpful resource, The Idealist Guide to Working (and Living) with Chronic Illness and Disability.INTERVIEW ACCESSIBILITY Idealist and MDA Quest Media Sep 25, 2023 10:00 AM
Idealist strives to help build a world where all people can lead free and dignified lives. Working with others, in a spirit of generosity and mutual respect, we seek to help current and aspiring social-impact professionals to imagine, connect, and act on the issues closest to their hearts.
Quest Media is an innovative and adaptive lifestyle platform from the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). By hosting important conversations with experts, thought leaders, and the larger community of individuals with disabilities about topics that matter to them, Quest Media fosters awareness and empowerment within the neuromuscular disease community.