Disability is one part of who a person is just like a person's race, gender and ethnicity. While employers can't ask about disability, job seekers who demonstrate acceptance and comfort with having a disability may bring those attitudes to the job interview. They may put the interviewer at ease, answer and set aside unspoken questions, and increase chances for of a successful interview.
Job seekers that use common interview questions to assertively manage the impression disability makes can demonstrate that disability is not a barrier, but can be a workplace asset.
Besides commonly cited connections to high unemployment, career change, stereotypes, misperceptions and discrimination, disability is also a source of pride and self-identity. Navigating life with a disability creates opportunities to develop problem solving skills, creative approaches to tasks and qualities such as patience and persistence, assertiveness and empathy -- all assets in the workplace. One's disability can be a catalyst for new learning and motivation.
What Research Says
This research study found that assertive impression management tactics used by job candidates with epilepsy had a positive impact on the job interview. Recent changes to Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, were intended to increase workplace disability inclusion. These changes put in place hiring goals that use voluntary self-identification of disability as a strategy to increase disability hiring. Read more about the business impact of voluntary disclosure on disability inclusion.
The ultimate decision to disclose is yours. Employer can't ask and you do not have to tell. If you want to explore how to effectively disclose disability here are some tips and information.