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    When do you let them know....

    Hi community,

    This question may already have been asked, but I just want to get your thoughts: at what point in the interview process do you reveal your "obvious physical disability"? Is it at the start (maybe with the first conversation) to get it out of the way, or do you wait and surprise them at the first face-to-face interview, or does it vary based on your feel for the company? I just want to get your thoughts on this.

    Thanks

    #2
    You don't. It's a protected trait. It's no more a "surprise" than your age or gender or religion. It only becomes relevant after you've been hired and their legal obligations for reasonable accommodations comes into play.
    "I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it." - Edgar Allen Poe

    "If you only know your side of an issue, you know nothing." -John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

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      #3
      This is tricky, as often a job interview question is about what physical requirements there are for the job (such as standing, lifting, etc.). Employers are allowed to ask you if you can perform these activities, and if you cannot, you can ask if these are "essential" requirements of the position, or if reasonable accommodations will be made for them. The physical requirements should be part of the posting of the job description, before you apply.

      They cannot require you to reveal what your disability is (such as SCI, MS, etc.) and it would be wise to not offer this information.

      (KLD)
      The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

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        #4
        I'd definitely assume that if no specific requirements are stated in the job description - there's no need to tell about it at all unless the issue comes up.

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          #5
          I have a statement about it at the end of my resume. I also mention it when I speak with them(by phone or email) just incase they don't see it on my resume. They can say whatever they want about why they didn't hire you if they decide not to. They can say it's for a different reason so they don't get sued. The reason I am upfront about it is so I don't waste my time or theirs. Some might not agree with me but I just think it's the smart thing to do.

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            #6
            When I was scheduling the interview for my current job, I casually asked if the office was wheelchair accessible. Otherwise I did not provide specifics.

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              #7
              I would agree with KLD.

              ckf
              The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

              Comment


                #8
                I feel it is all situation dependent. I have both never said anything about it and made it explicitly clear depending on the situation.

                For example, I went through a really bizarre (and fairly unique) "job application" process for medical residency. In this system there were probably 2000 applicants nationally for about 1500 positions at 236 different programs throughout the country. I applied to about 120 of these programs, which is slightly more than the average applicant. Realistically the maximum number of interviews you can actually go on probably maxes out around 25 or 30. In the actual application there was nowhere to list any disabilities (as there shouldn't be, I'm sure that is illegal), but I know (despite the law) there would be a certain number of programs that would immediately toss my application in the trash once they saw that I was disabled, I didn't want to waste an interview at those programs, and only wanted an interview at places that would genuinely consider me for a position. So I made it explicitly clear in the "personal statement" section that I was in wheelchair. Probably got less interviews than I could have otherwise, but I knew that the interviews I did get weren't a waste as I genuinely had a shot at getting in.

                After residency I went on a handful of interviews and didn't tell any of them that I was in a wheelchair. But I was in a different position compared to the above situation. Rather than applying for a massive amount of jobs I was the one with the bargaining power as there is a tremendous need for people with my qualifications and there are more jobs available than applicants to fill them. Also, having done four years of residency I had thoroughly demonstrated that I was able to do all requirements of the job. Perhaps it's different in the healthcare field, but I showed up to many of these interviews and there was basically no way they could have known I was in a wheelchair before I met them for the first time. I did this in part to see how they dealt with it, and they all dealt with it pretty well, no one seemed thrown off by it. I think in that situation it demonstrated the fact that I didn't need accommodations (which I don't), and generally showed them that I could get across the country via plane, taxi, hotel, etc without any issues and didn't consider my disability to warrant any special precautions or preparations on their part. I got job offers from everyone I didn't turn down, but ironically I ended up taking a position at a hospital where I had worked as a student years ago, so they knew that I was in a wheelchair when I applied (but also I'd worked there for a few weeks years ago before my training was complete so they knew I could do what needed to be done).

                So, my personal experience aside, I think you have to take it on a case by case basis. If you think mentioning your disability early on, like during a first phone call, will rule you out in some bosses eyes and you don't want to waste your time, go ahead and mention it. If you think you can make a good impression by showing up and surprising them, I think there are pros to that as well. If you don't face a time crunch, and aren't super afraid of rejection, I'd normally not say anything and see how they handle it. I always bet on myself and if 25% of bosses would be reluctant to offer me an interview because of a disability (even though this is clearly illegal, it's basically unenforceable because you'll generally never know why you're not offered a job or interview), I bet I can change half of those bosses minds when I show up and they see how awesome I am.

                I imagine many bosses worry that hiring a disabled person will mean difficult/expensive accommodations, increased work absences or higher insurance costs. Showing up without saying anything about your disability in some ways might indicate that you didn't really think it was worth mentioning because it's irrelevant to your ability to do the job, and not something those managers need to worry about. It shows that you're independent and aren't going to be a hassle for them.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by SCI-Nurse View Post
                  They cannot require you to reveal what your disability is (such as SCI, MS, etc.) and it would be wise to not offer this information.

                  (KLD)
                  I think there are many situations for those of us with a traumatic SCI where mentioning the specific injury could be beneficial. Most of us have a pretty stable injury that doesn't change over time. Mentioning that you were injured 10 years ago, if you've been working consistently for many years since that time, can show that your injury isn't degenerative, and therefore they will have the implicit expectation that your post injury work history will be broadly indicative of your abilities going forward.

                  If I had a degenerative disease like MS that could be expected to worsen, I would probably keep my mouth shut about that and let them guess.

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