So, you’re in the thick of it, job hunting, and someone finally offers you an interview.
Interviewing for a job as a disabled person isn’t that different from the experience a non-disabled person. However, as a disabled person, I do think there are a few extra things that we need to consider when we’re going for a job interview.
I’ve compiled a list of tips that I’ve used myself whilst prepping for an interview. I hope you find them as helpful as I did.
1. Focus on your ability, not your disability
Now, you never have to disclose your disability. Personally, I’ve always declared my disability. I always make a habit of marketing my disability as a strength.
You might feel differently, but even if you don’t disclose your disability think about what skills it helps you bring to the table. Insight, empathy, and perspective are skills most of us have because of our lived experiences. Make sure to showcase them.
2. Showcase that you have the skills they want
Prospective employers like to have proof of your skill and not just your word. Ensure that you have as much experience as possible in the skills you want to promote. Your experience can be through paid work or voluntary work; it doesn’t matter. Interviewers might ask you to give anecdotal evidence of when you’ve needed to use your skills. Make sure you have a few examples ready.
3. Research your company
This is a must for any interview prep. It doesn’t need to be a deep dive, but the more you know, the better off you’ll be. I recommend looking into the company ethos and checking if they’re disabled-friendly. Interviews are just as much about you checking the company to see if they fit you well, as it is for them to check you’re good for them.
4. Know your rights
Legally, a company cannot discriminate against you for a disability. In fact, it’s against the law in the UK to ask you about your disability during an interview. A business can only do that once they have made you a job offer. You can also have reasonable accommodations made for you during the interview.
5. Be ready to explain CV gaps
It’s difficult to break into the job market when you have education and no experience or vice versa. It’s even harder when you have CV gaps. It doesn’t matter what caused the gap but be aware that it may get brought up in an interview.
Try and focus on highlights during your gap and any skills you might have acquired or used during it.
I did this a lot when I started getting interviews, because I was rusty and was really nervous. I’d practise with people that I felt comfortable around and I knew would give me honest and fair criticism.
Being nervous is okay and it’s expected. If you practice it’ll help with your confidence. The more confident and calm you appear, the better you’ll look during your interview.
7. Research building location and accessibility
I use walking sticks and a wheelchair, so I always check this before going for an interview. Also, if I’m able to, I’ll practice my journey there and check accessibility in person. If you can’t do this, you can either phone or email.
Ask questions like: is there a dropped pavement at the front of the building? Accessible toilet? A ramp? Is it possible to do a remote interview? Make sure to cover all of your bases so you don’t have to stress during the day.
8. Ask for feedback
I recommend asking for feedback, especially if you’ll be interviewing a lot. I like to do this in an email after I know whether or not I’ll be progressing. Make sure that you ask for examples of what went well in the interview and what you can improve on.
This will help you figure out your good attributes and what you should work on. You can then use the feedback to prepare for your next interview opportunity.
9. Stay positive
This one is a bit cliché but the job market is more challenging than ever to navigate. Now it’s more common for a company not to respond when you send a CV rather than rejecting your application. Rejection is part of the process. It’s not because you’re disabled. So, keep a positive outlook. The right job will come along.
These are just some tips for interviewing I think you might find helpful. Remember, If you don’t get a job, that role wasn’t meant for you. It’s not because of your disability.
My main takeaways are using your disability as a strength, knowing your rights, being prepared for rejection, and staying positive. The right job for you is out there. You just have to find it.
About the Author
Lauren is a freelance writer from Falmouth. After graduating from university, she took a keen interest in writing about disability, so her story and others like it could be told with passion and conviction.