By Lisa Osiako
Job interviews are a nerve-wracking process for many job seekers. When you have a disability, however, the anxiety is doubled. Your mindset is key to your performance. If you convince your potential employer that you can do the job and do it as well or better than a nondisabled person, then it may be to the interviewer’s advantage to hire you.
With preparation and practice, you can get interviewers to notice you for you, and not your disability.
Here are a few tips to help you develop a winner’s mindset and have a successful interview, even with disability.
1. Be Confident
Everyone feels unsure and nervous during an interview.
Make sure as you step into the interview, you project as much confidence as possible in your body language and behavior. Ensure that you are as prepared as possible so as to bring out authentic confidence.
Think about the following questions and how best to answer them as you prepare for the interview:
- Why the job and company are a good fit for you – and how to convey that to interviewers
- How to “sell” your strengths and accomplishments and stand out from other candidates
- Which interview questions are most commonly asked
- How to avoid common interview mistakes
- What to wear to project confidence
If you don’t project the belief that you can do the job, no one else will believe it.
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2. Discuss Your Disability
Before the interview, you may not have disclosed your disability to the potential employer. Depending on your disability, you may have to discuss it with your interviewer.
If you have a hidden disability and adjustments need to be made within the company, it’s best to bring this up at the interview stage. However, remember to keep the focus on how great a candidate you are, and all the things you can do.
Never apologize for your disability.
3. Recognize your strengths, and develop them
Knowing that you have what it takes to be the right fit for the job will automatically boost your confidence despite being disabled.
Therefore, cultivate at least one strength to position yourself as qualified during the interview. This strength could either be a soft or hard skill.
When faced with questions such as, “Why should we hire you?” or “If we asked your current employer what stands out about you, what would they say?” you can answer with this particular skill or accomplishment that makes you uniquely qualified.
Persistence, patience, creativity, and thinking outside the box are great strengths that just might have their roots in your disability.
When discussing your strengths, ensure that you do not make it all about your disability, as this is not what an interviewer will want to discuss.
READ ALSO >>> Top 4 Common Interview Questions & Sample Answers
4. Show Emotional Intelligence
This goes a long way in showing interviewers that you are more than your disability. Avoid painting yourself as the victim.
One thing that will show your level of emotional intelligence is your ability to speak naturally and openly about what you do.
Show emotional intelligence by discussing disability as one of the many parts that make up who you are. It need not be portrayed as a negative but simply put, a fact of life.
Your disability does not define who you are. You have every reason to enter your interview with confidence, knowing you are fully prepared, well presented, and ready to articulate your best self to your future employer.