Hiring People with Disabilities: The Interview Part II
You’ve decided to recruit people with disabilities and have gone through the process of preparing your staff, committing to company values that uphold diversity and inclusion, you’ve created a job ad and successfully recruited a number of candidates. Now it is time to start the interview process.
While preparing to meet your candidate, be sure to read:
It’s important to remain appropriate in the interview by asking questions that are only job-related and focus on the individuals ability to actually perform the main duties of the job. Do not focus on their disability, instead ask them if they will require accommodation to complete the tasks required of the job.
Be specific in your questions. If the main function of the job required the selected candidate to lift 50 pounds then you should ask, “Are you comfortable lifting 50 pounds?” Instead of, “Are you comfortable with heavy lifting?” This will allow the person to determine if they are capable of the essential job duties and if it is a right fit for them.
You must ask the exact same questions of all applicants, whether they have a disability or not. If required, a medical exam should be conducted only after the candidate has been selected for the job and only if their condition is related to the job duties. An offer of employment can be conditional on successful completion of an appropriate medical exam.
Do’s and Don’t of Interview Questions
DO NOT ASK: How bad is your eyesight?
ASK: This job requires taking minutes of weekly meetings. What is your experience in minute taking?
DO NOT ASK: How much mobility do you have outside of your wheelchair?
ASK: Part of this job requires lifting and moving of 25 pound boxes around the warehouse. Are you comfortable doing this?
DO NOT ASK: Have you ever received psychiatric care or been hospitalized for emotional problems?
ASK: Do you have any condition that would affect your ability to complete this positions essential duties?
DO NOT ASK: Tell me about your disability.
ASK: Do you have any condition that we should consider in selecting you for this job?
Preparing to Interview
Here are some things to help you create a check list when preparing to interview a person with disabilities:
–The applicant has been informed beforehand if a test is required.
— The test has been screened for biases and can be adapted to an individual’s needs (i.e. instructions are read out or available on tape for an applicant who is visually impaired)
— The applicant has been told about parking and that the building is accessible.
— Directions to the interview room can be easily understood.
— The interview room or area is quiet and free of distractions.
— Sufficient time has been set aside for the interview, so the applicant will not feel rushed.
— The interview questions will focus on the essential requirements of the position
— Questions about height and weight are asked only if there are genuine job requirements.
— The same questions will be asked of ALL applicants
— Each applicant will be asked to describe how they will perform a certain job function if an accommodation is required.
— The interviewer has been given disability awareness training.
— The interviewer feels comfortable interviewing someone with a disability.
For more information about hiring a person with disabilities, contact EmployAbilities at (780) 423-4106 or email