job interviewing strategies for college students with disabilities
Beginning the Interviewing Process
Preparation Before the Interview
- Know your skills
- Do a self-assessment
- Find out about the company
- Anticipate questions/review possible answers
Research the Company or Organization
- Contact and request a brochure or catalog to learn about policies, products, and programs
- Contact people at the company
- Look up the duties of the position
- Check out the building
Possible Questions Employers May Ask
- What are your strengths?
- Are you a team player?
- Tell me about yourself.
- Tell me how you would define this job.
- Why should I hire you?
- Does your disability interfere with your attendance?
- What happens if you are injured on the job?
Consider Informational Interviewing
- Best source of information is someone who is actually in that job and can answer questions.
- These types of interviews are usually arranged through networking contacts.
- Important to make it clear up front that you are only hoping to come away with information.
- Never ask: "Will you hire me?"
- Ask, "What duties are essential to this position?"
- Ask, "What skills are employers looking for?"
Job Interviewing Tips
Things to Do
- Rehearse before the interview day
- Check your appearance. Dress the part
- Arrive alone and early, so you're relaxed
- Smile warmly, give a firm hand shake, and maintain eye contact
- Bring an extra original copy of your resume
- Provide factual information related to your ability to do the job that does not use complicated medical terminology.
- Have a list of references ready
- Take control of the disability issue
- Keep interview focused on your qualifications
- Know the type of job accommodations you need
- Know what questions to ask
- Demonstrate how your disability has not limited your work performance
Things Not to Do
- Don't apologize for your disability
- Don't chew gum or smoke
- Don't wear strong perfumes or colognes
- Don't experiment with a new hairstyle
- Don't address an interviewer by first name
- Don't crack your knuckles or play with your pen, hair, or eyeglasses
- Don't try to control the interview
- Don't focus on your health during the interview
After the Interview
When to disclose your disability is a personal decision that has to be made.
Should I Disclose My Disability
Resume: Often, your disability is reflected in your work history, education, and life experience. Stress your adaptability.
Cover Letter: Don't start the letter with details about a disability. Follow a format mentioning strengths and limitations.
Call for an Interview: The best time to disclose a visible disability is during the employer telephone call for an interview.
Application Form: You aren't required to discuss your disability. You may not have enough room to describe accommodations.
During the Interview: Experts suggest disclosing a visible disability before the interview to avoid surprising the employer.
After a Job Offer: Many people prefer to disclose their disability after they have received a job offer based on their skills.
After Starting a Job: If the disability does not affect initial work, then you may want to disclose your disability after being hired because you have proven your skills.
- Be aware of your rights under Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
- ADA requires that an employer provide reasonable accommodations that will allow a qualified applicant with a disability to perform essential functions of the position.
- Employers are not required to make an accommodation if it causes undue hardship.
- Inquiries about a disability may not be made prior to a job offer.
For information or individual counseling contact:
Chavis University Center
Career Services Center, Room 210
P 0 Box 1510
Pembroke, NC 28372-1510
Phone/Voice: (910) 521-6270
Fax: (910) 521-6166
Disability Support Services
PO Box 1510
Pembroke, NC 28372-1510
Phone/Voice: (910) 521-6695
Fax: (910) 521- 6891
TTY: (910) 521-6490
Appointments for career counseling may be scheduled during regular office hours
Monday through Thursday. No appointments on Friday.
Monday through Friday
8:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Return to Brochures and Guidelines