Interviewing for a Job
Conducting a job interview can be stressful, particularly if you haven’t interviewed for a while or are concerned about how to address your disability. There are; however, some simple techniques you can employ to make the process easier. Here are some simple things to do that will help you prepare and leverage the interview opportunity.
- Do your homework. Research the company in advance. Look at their website to get an idea of the culture. This will also provide a better understanding of the position, as well as help you prepare questions to ask during the interview. You will also want to assess their attitude towards those with disabilities. Do they hire a lot of people who are disabled? Do they promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace? Can you find someone within the company that can provide insight into their work culture?
- Dress to impress. First impressions count, and one of the first you will make with a potential employer is your attire. While casual attire is acceptable in many of today’s work environments, the general rule of thumb for an interview is to dress professionally. Completely avoid sneakers or flip-flops, visible underwear such as bra straps, shorts, jeans, skirts that are too short, low-rise, or unusually tight pants, and blouses that are either low-cut, or too short. Be aware of the company's policies on tattoos and piercings as well; if neither is looked upon favorably, make it a point to cover up or take out your rings.
- Highlight your unique experience. Americans with disabilities have the opportunity to compete equally for jobs as a result of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Employers cannot discriminate against disabled workers and many post jobs targeted to this specific sector of the labor market. As with any job search, highlighting your skills and accomplishments is the best way to position you as a valuable asset to any corporation, and there is no need to focus on your disability status when it comes to skills and experience.
- Be ready for the most common questions. Where do you see yourself? Why are you a good fit? Tell me something about yourself? How do you think your experience will help you in this job? These are the types of question you will be asked and require a thoughtful response. Have your responses ready well in advance. Remember, a job interview is a conversation. So, be prepared. When discussing your credentials to a hiring manager, it is also best to outline any accommodations you may require up front if necessary. If you are a disabled American, you can request – at any time during the pre-offer or offer stage – any reasonable accommodation you require to better help you perform your job. And the employer is required by law to provide any employee with a known disabilities access to these accommodations, as long as they do not incur a large expense to the employer.
- Remember to follow-up. Take the time to write a thank you note. Your note should thank the interviewer for their time, reiterate your interest in the position, and the reasons why you feel you would make the best candidate. Also include your contact information again.
- Practice makes perfect. During the interview you will be assessed not only by how you respond to questions, but your general mannerisms, style and confidence. The best approach is the prepared approach. Ask a friend or family member to conduct a mock interview session with you. The better prepared you are the more comfortable you’ll be during the interview.