Finding employment in Nebraska can be a stressful process for anyone. Once you move past the initial application stage, you might be invited for an interview. If you’re blind or visually impaired, you could have several valid questions about this next step–and rightly so. The interview is the best opportunity you have to make a good first impression.
Have concerns about getting to, or around, the interview location? If you use a guide dog or cane, you can ask someone from Human Resources for specific directions to the location so you can accurately and confidently enter the building. Alternatively, if you are hearing impaired and need an interpreter, request one, but mention that any comments or questions are to be directed to you.
Prepare your outfit the night before the interview. If you can't see colors, Reisen Inc. has created Color Mates. These tags come in 16 colors and shapes that are easily identifiable. If you prefer to speak to someone for assistance, the Be My Eyes app is a great free option. Here, you connect with someone who will need to see your outfit to assist you.
Research the company’s competitors, products and services and salary trends. Thoroughly browse the website. Examine employee biographies to get to know their staff. Find their annual reports and any articles or blog posts written about the company. Knowing as much as you can about your potential employment in Nebraska shows the interviewer you’ve done your homework.
Write up a list of possible questions you could be asked and practice answering them. Interviewers don’t expect you to be perfect. They want to get to know you enough to evaluate whether you’re a good fit for the position. Always speak positively when discussing how you successfully solved a previous problem. Never be negative or too chatty.
Always remain confident in all your interactions during the hiring process. Have a backup plan if the HR professional becomes forgetful in providing you directions to the interview room. Be aware of your strengths and how to improve upon them. Show emotional intelligence. Though the interviewer cannot directly ask you about your disability, they will be observing how you have adjusted to, or live with your disability and despite this, how you can perform the functions required by the job.
If possible, see if the interviewer would be interested in learning about some of the assistive technology you would use to perform the duties of the job. If you use AT that you can’t bring with you, have your mobile phone on hand to show how text-to-speech works and how you navigate menus and perform tasks.
Know your rights as a job seeker. Title I of The Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 protects those with disabilities from answering questions during the hiring process that are illegal or discriminatory. The interviewer can only ask you about your qualifications and ability to do the job. You don’t have to reveal your disability until you need special accommodations. The employer can ask about these accommodations, but only after they’ve made a job offer. An offer can only be rescinded if the reason relates to the job or the company’s business needs.
Use your judgment when deciding if and when to disclose your disability. The interviewer should be aware of these laws. If they do ask something they LEGALLY shouldn’t, you can file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The commission, along with the Department of Justice oversees complaints.
The disabled are as capable as everyone to meet the demands of a position and find employment in Nebraska. Showing your independence, confidence and self-assurance when solving problems and your ability to adapt to a new environment will serve you in good stead. Avoid playing the victim or apologizing for your disability. It isn’t a weakness or limitation but simply a part of your life you must learn to manage.