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Tips for preparing for a job interview when you have a disability

Preparing for your interview is as important as the actual interview itself. This is even more the case when you have a disability and need to voice your needs.

Here are some things to consider when going into your interview.

  • Research the company with whom you are interviewing. Find out about their work culture. You can find out through websites like Glassdoor or Quora, but remember the information here is not always unbiased. So don't form judgements purely on the basis of what you read here. Keep an open mind.
  • Practice interacting with your interviewers. Think of some common questions they may ask, as well as specific questions relating to your skills and experience that may come up, This way you will remember all the points you want to make when you are actually facing the interviewer and are likely to be tense or nervous.
  • Keep the conversation around your capabilities as a potential employee. Talk about the skill sets you would bring into the position and what areas of work you are keen on. Do mention your previous work experience, if you have any. This could be relevant to the position you have applied for.
  • Many people choose not to disclose their disabilities unless its visible or necessary, and you do not have to disclose a disability unless a reasonable accommodation is needed. Amar Jain, a successful corporate lawyer in Mumbai, who happens to be visually impaired, prefers to disclose his disability right upfront.

    I am of the opinion that it's best to say it upfront because if the person has seen your CV, knows you have a disability and you wants to interview, then there is a greater chance of convincing him in a positive way. But there are some people who do not disclose it ahead and convert that into a success. I feel the most successful approach is to be upfront. - Amar Jain, Blind corporate lawyer

    If the disability is minor or not very apparent, Jain suggests one approach could be to talk to the interviewer about the role you are expected to perform and build the conversation up from there.

  • You can also ask for accommodations like an accessible office space, accessible keyboards, or any other reasonable request that will help you do your job well.

Here too, Jain has a different take from most. He suggests that when the company is not a large one, or not a government organization, it may be advisable to offer to spend on the reasonable accommodations you need at the workplace to avoid being seen as a liability. Of course this does not apply to major infrastructure changes but perhaps more in the line of the software you might need.

So, what are you waiting for? Take charge and rock that interview!

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