Job Interview Tips For Job Seekers With Disabilities
Job interviews can trigger almost anyone's anxiety. If you have a disability, you may wonder how to navigate the process. This is especially true if you're returning to the workforce after a leave of absence.
Allsup Employee Services (AES) helps former workers with disabilities nationwide to return to work. At AES, we provide free services to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiaries through the Ticket to Work (TTW) Program.
The SSDI program includes important benefits, such as monthly income and free return to work help. About 7 million adults receive SSDI benefits and are eligible for the Ticket to Work program.
Here are some job interview tips that can boost your confidence and increase your chances of success.
Lead with Your Strengths
Having a disability is not the central focus with a job search. You have a wealth of experience and insight that any company can find valuable. Emphasize these skills on your resume and cover letter, and be prepared to talk about them during an interview.
Try to focus on quantifiable results. Describe such past victories as:
- Improving revenue growth.
- Boosting customer satisfaction
- Implementing a new training system.
These types of experiences highlight your skills and demonstrate your past success. Pay attention to your hobbies and volunteer experience. These areas can supplement your resume even if your work history is limited.
Practicing with a friend or a vocational coach might be helpful, too. Role-playing a job interview can make you more comfortable talking about yourself. Those who know your story might help you think through your strong points while sharpening your interview skills.
Be Specific About Your Accommodations
Do you need any accommodation to perform your job? Some common examples include:
- Screen-reading software.
- Dictation software.
- A standing desk.
- Flexible work hours.
- Remote work options.
Most companies are eager to integrate employees with disabilities into their workforce. Employers can make reasonable accommodations that help you to perform the job's essential duties. Workplace accommodations have become more common in the post-COVID era, so employers are receptive to these requests.
Be honest and specific. Don't downplay your disability. Feel comfortable expressing what it would take to make you an effective worker.
Job interview tips are usually about helping the applicant make a good impression. But don't be afraid to ask questions of the interviewer. Doing so can demonstrate your genuine interest in the company, improving your chances of landing the job. More importantly, asking the right questions will give you a better feel for the company culture.
For example, ask questions such as:
- What does a typical workday look like?
- What challenges would someone in this role face?
- Is this a new role, or am I replacing someone?
- How does this position contribute to the company's mission?
- How is your company promoting diversity and inclusion?
These questions make the interview more of a two-way conversation. They'll also help you leave the interview more confident and informed so that you can decide whether the position is a good fit for you.
Look For Growth Opportunities
You may not ace every interview. That's true regardless of whether you have a disability or not. The good news is that you'll have plenty of other job interviews. Before you know it, you may become an expert on how to land a job in your field.
Rejection can be painful. Still, it can be an opportunity to learn and grow. Think of these experiences as opportunities for growth that build your character and resiliency. In the end, these traits become more valuable to your future employer and help you succeed in your dream job.
Beyond The Interview: Team Up With Allsup Employment Services
You may qualify for TTW if you currently receive SSDI benefits. AES is a Social Security Administration-authorized Employment Network, providing free services to beneficiaries through TTW. Our case managers deliver resources and services nationwide to help SSDI recipients take full advantage of the incentives and support available when they return to work, including protecting their SSDI benefits and suspension of Continuing Disability Reviews.
Allsup Employment Services can help you navigate the Ticket to Work Program. We want to help you to get back into the workforce while protecting your benefits during the transition.