Telling a future employer that you have a disability can be one of the hardest parts of applying for a job and preparing for an interview. In a recent study conducted by greatwithdisability.com, 76% of studentssaid they were concerned about informing a potential employer about their disability or health condition. You might be reluctant to disclose a disability or illness because you’re worried about being discriminated against or being seen as a hassle to employers. You’re under no legal obligation to disclose a disability.However, there can be benefits to being open about your situation, for example:
- You can draw upon your disability to demonstrate certain competencies. Think about the positive qualities you have developed as a result of having a disability. Managing your disability could have given you strengths that are unique to you and may be the most effective way of demonstrating what is being assessed. Remember not to use your disability in every example, make sure you draw upon a wide variety of situations to show a range of experience.
- Receiving reasonable adjustments in the recruitment process. One reason for telling an employer that you have a disability is to discuss any adjustments you might need to enable you to perform to your full potential during the interview. Do make sure you only share relevant information; you don’t need to go into all the details of your disability.
- You can be yourself. Being open from the beginning will allow you to talk about who you really are and the strengths you’ve developed as a result of your disability. Trying to conceal it could take a lot of effort that would be better spent highlighting your talents and abilities.
- You gain control. If you decide to be open about your disability when you are ready to do so, you will have more control over the way it is seen. This can increase your confidence to use it as an opportunity to describe your disability positively and show how it hasn’t held you back.
Finally, it might be reassuring to know that employers are required to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ in the workplace, including adjusting working hours or providing equipment, to enable an employee with disabilities to do the job. See the disability rights section on the GOV.UK website for more information, including the access to work scheme. You may also want to look out for employers who indicate they have a positive attitude to disability. This may be evident from their recruitment information and their website. Employers may use the positive about disabled people ‘two ticks’ symbol, which guarantees an interview to all candidates with disabilities who fulfil the minimum requirements for the job.
- Be positive: focus on your unique selling points and how you match what the employer is looking for.
- Address concerns: consider the employer’s point of view, and inform and reassure them.
- Keep it relevant: disclose what you need to and are comfortable with, but remember you don’t need to go into all the details.
For more information, there is a helpful section on disclosing your disability on the equality and diversity TARGETjobs website and greatwithdisability.com is a useful resource containing tips and case studies.
And don’t forget, if you need help or support with disclosure of any kind you can come and talk to us at the Careers Service as well, just drop in and see us.