Real Talk: Here’s How You Should Actually Interview When You Have a Disability – Lauren Hamer

Real Talk: Here’s How You Should Actually Interview When You Have a Disability was originally published on The Muse by Lauren Hamer. Please click here to read the article in full.

In an article from The Muse, Lauren Hamer argues in favor of disclosing disability/disabilities during an interview:

“Employers look for people who exude confidence in their abilities, can perform the outlined tasks, and will fit with the company culture. When you check all of those boxes and are the one to address your disability, you’re setting yourself up for success. Here’s why:

1. It Puts the Room at Ease

Chances are, your interviewer wants to ask questions if your disability is undeniable. It’s natural; we’re curious human beings. But because ADA prohibits her from doing so, if you don’t bring it up, you’re both going to be staring at the elephant in the room. Since my disability becomes noticeable the moment I enter a room, I choose to acknowledge it at a time that feels appropriate during the meeting.

I want to hopefully make the other person more comfortable and also demonstrate that I’m at ease with what I’ve got going on. I recommend breaking the ice and starting the conversation when there’s a point in the interview for you to do so (more on that below). By addressing it head on, you remove any potential awkwardness and you allow everyone to focus on how awesome you are as a candidate.

2. It Shows Confidence in Your Ability to Succeed

There’s that word again. Confidence. Lead the conversation by disclosing that your disability produced a character strength that is unparalleled in any of the other employees, and, thus, you’ll prove your immediate value should become part of the team. I remember one interview where I mentioned that my CP had rewarded me with a thick skin. I’m rarely affected or discouraged by negative comments, difficult scenarios, or potentially unwelcoming environments. I explained, “I even respond well to constructive criticism!”

This admission actually worked in my favor, as the job I was applying for involved a tough Fortune 500-corporate environment, a position that meant overhauling the supply chain process it had been using for years and introducing an entirely new method to its employees. The organization was looking for a candidate who could persevere through challenging tasks and maintain her cool in stressful meetings and workplace situations. If you can find a way to link your disability with a strong work trait or characterization—“My ADHD has really helped me to think creatively about solving various types of scenarios”—you’ll likely draw an impressive nod. You want to be remembered for your confidence and direct approach, not your inability to be candid and open in a first meeting.

3. It Instantly Connects You With People in the Room…”

 

Visit The Muse for more great tips and advice on disability in the job search.