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SOC-OFE Doctoral Students: Tips for Students with Disabilities

Tips for Students with Disabilities

Here are some interviewing tips from Walden's Disability Services for students with disabilities:

  • Don’t disclose disability unless you need to request an accommodation to do your job.
    • This is probably the most critical point that is ignored by your students because they think they will be MORE valuable as employees if they share that they have their own personal experiences with disability.  Unless the application materials specifically say experience as a person with a disability is a “plus” they should avoid disclosing disability.  They can always do it later, maybe in an interview (if it comes up and seems to be a positive thing).   But, really, the best practice is simply not to disclose at all.   Even people in health fields have misconceptions about how challenging it would be to have an employee with a disability.
  • If you need an accommodation for your job but not the application/interview process, don’t disclose until the job offer has been made.  Then, only disclose as much as necessary to secure the necessary accommodation.
  • If you need an accommodation during the application/interview process (for example, a wheelchair accessible room or a sign language interpreter), present that information in a professional way – simply referencing the need for access.  Don’t let disability be the focus of the application process.  Address it, get the accommodation needed for access, and move on to the more important information about why you are right for the job. 
  • Try in every way possible to keep the focus on skills and abilities and not a disability or an accommodation.
  • If experience with disability appears to be a favorable thing, present the experience as having been a learning one that adds to knowledge base.  Focus on professional management of disability as a skill developed over time - and not the disability itself.
  • Contact Career Services to request disabilites-related interview coaching.