How to I.N.T.E.R.V.I.E.W.

The interview can be intimidating to many, but it does not need to be. Man using wheelchair shaking hands with interviewer

Once you have prepared for the interview, using the 9 tips in last week’s blog,, you are set to go!  Review the list below to help you ace the I.N.T.E.R.V.I.E.W.!

I – Impression

Whether it is being on time or being dressed properly, you only get one chance to make a first impression.  This includes your demeanor.  Enter with confidence and grace. 

N – No Interview Mistakes

Having a disability does not allow for interview mistakes, such as being late due to transportation; you need to be prepared.  Never, ever, use your disability as an excuse. It is very disrespectful to those of us with a disability; you will provide an excuse to someone who is discriminatory, to not hire you.

T – Total Focus on Your Skills, Not on Your Disability

It is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for an interviewer, to ask an interviewee what type of disability they have.   If the interviewer does ask you, do not be defiant when you respond.  Instead, answer in a very nice way…”I cannot answer that question, due to the ADA.”  If the person stumbles and apologizes, just say, “I’m concerned about this interview and getting the job.” Some managers have simply not been educated through a “training for hiring people with disabilities” program.

E – Express Your Identity as a Person with a Disability

You may want to consider self-identifying as a person with a disability.  Although, it is a violation of the ADA for companies to ask you to disclose your specific disability, it may be to your advantage to self-identify as a person with a disability.  If you are interviewing for a position at a company or Federal agency that is seeking to employ people with disabilities, it is to your advantage to identify as a person with a disability. Bender Consulting Services is one of those companies. Also, when you begin a position it is to your advantage to disclose you have a disability to get the accommodations you may need.

Remember, I am not talking about disclosing your specific disability.  I am talking about simply self-identifying as a person with a disability.  Your disability is part of our culture.  I am not ashamed of being a person with epilepsy.  You should not be ashamed either.

R – Rehearse For Tough Questions

Rehearse with friends and family for tough questions, like:

  • Would you tell me about yourself?
  • What are your strengths/weaknesses?
  • Why did you leave this job?
  • Why do you have a gap in your resume?
  • Why should I hire you?

V – Visualize Yourself as a Professional

  • Act like a manager. 
  • Do not ever chew gum on an interview.
  • Make sure your cell phone is turned off and do not answer it or text during an interview.
  • Take a notebook to the interview along with your resume and references.

I – Informal Behavior Will Cost You the Job

Do not address the interviewer as anything other than Mr., Ms., or Mrs. during the interview.  Do not use first names.  If the interviewer tells you to address him or her by the first name, you can, but otherwise remain more formal.

Never talk too personally to the interviewer.  Also, do not tell personal information about you that is inappropriate for an interview.   Never, ever talk about your political or religious orientation on an interview. 

E – Energy

Start the interview with a smile on your face and a warm handshake.  Be prepared to tell the interviewer how excited you are to have the opportunity to meet them and interview with this company/agency.  Let them know that this is a great position and you are thankful to have the chance to interview.  This will demonstrate your great attitude and starts the interview positively.

W – Want the Job and Ask for It!

At the end of the interview, very graciously thank the interviewer for the opportunity to meet with them. State that if you are selected, you will give the company's 110% of your effort.  You will be at work every day and you will maintain a strong work ethic. Tell them they can count on you if they give you the chance.   Then, you must deliver on this promise.

Obtain contact information for the interviewer, so you can follow up with a thank you note.  Express your interest in the position, and provide your contact information.  Proofread your note before sending. 

Most importantly, be yourself and tell the truth.

Get that job!

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