I wanted to thank all of you who came to the movie social at The Whole Person on Saturday, April 16, 2011. It was a fantastic time, I got to make some new friends and talk to them about their hearing loss and challenges they face in their lives. I was talking with one person about her frustrations in finding a job and when to reveal her hearing loss in the interview process, and it kind of turned out like this:
1) It may not be beneficial to reveal your hearing loss right away. However, if you want to get any accommodations or support during the interview and after, you’ll have to talk about it at the right time.
2) If you need an interpreter or other accommodations during the interview, you’ll need to mention those services at least when you schedule the interview. Does this present a risk of the employer suddenly becoming evasive and trying to drop you as a candidate? Yes, but this becomes less so when you make it clear that you know you do the job just as well when these accommodations are met.
3) Give a brief example of the kind of work you do well when you have the access you need, like “Just make sure you’re facing me and speak clearly, and with that, I have been able to be an A student in all my classes” or “With a sign language interpreter from ABC interpreter agency, I was able to save my last company $100,000 in taxes on their IRS filing.” This gives you another opportunity to “sell yourself” to the job recruiter above people who don’t have hearing loss.
Job interviews are all about selling yourself. While I don’t claim to be an expert in that field, it’s clear that people with disabilities get the short shrift even in the best of times – and with this down economy and reports that thousands of applicants are lining up for each job opening, it makes it even harder to stand out of the throng. HLAA can advise and advocate for your accessibility needs – if you ever have a question about job accessibility, even outside of the Kansas City area, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.