Chapter 6: International Job Seekers & Job Seekers with Disabilities
If you’re thinking of disclosing your disability, there are a few things you can do to prepare yourself. Read through the following suggestions and decide what is helpful for you:
- Role-play your disclosure conversations.
If you’re nervous about discussing your disability, plan what you’re going to say, and take the time to rehearse with a family member or close friend ahead of time. Not only will you feel more prepared about what you are going to say, you will also feel more confident. Keep it simple. You don’t need to give all of your personal details, decide how much you feel comfortable with sharing and stick with that.
- Don’t present your disability as a weakness.
Focus on what you can do for the company, don’t let your disability stand in the way of highlighting your capabilities of performing a job. Focus on highlighting your skills and qualifications as they relate to the position. Give concrete examples of how you performed your job duties in the past, this will help the employer visualize you in the role. If you’re comfortable, talk more about what kind of valuable contributions your disability has had in your previous environments.
- Be able to identify your workplace accommodations.
The more you can tell an employer about the required accommodations after disclosing a disability, the more confident they will feel in knowing how to support you. It will also be helpful to provide examples or reflect on academic or employment accommodations you’ve received in the past. If you have resources that you can provide to help the employer gain a better understanding of your needs, leave this information with them. Research the costs and funding available for any accommodations you may need. When possible, be responsible for your individual needs by providing the software or equipment needed for your accommodation. Sharing this information with the employer is helpful and creates a sense of reassurance that you are prepared for your new work environment and it doesn’t provide an employer with an excuse not to hire you.
- Be prepared to answer questions about your disability.
Questions are an opportunity for an employer or colleague to learn. Providing an educated and thorough answer will be an opportunity to break down perceived barriers.
- Talk about the business case for hiring persons with disabilities.
There are strong motivations for businesses to hire employees with disabilities, which is why it is helpful to inform employers of the added benefits of adding a person with a disability to their team. For example, they are diversifying their workforce, showing their commitment to employment equity, broadening perspectives, building a positive image in the community, widening their talent pool, and
encouraging and improving accessibility practices for everyone.