Finding a job that’s a good fit with a hidden disability

I’ve had so many crushes on firms. However discovering the correct fit may be laborious. 

It jogs my memory of pace courting. You sit or Zoom in entrance of that recruiter and alternate questions—What’s your background? Are you able to inform me about your self? Why do you need to work for our firm? Then you definitely advance to the subsequent recruiter, and repeat the identical course of. 

On the finish, you establish who you need to “date,” or transfer onto the subsequent spherical of the interview. Do they perceive what you’re searching for? Do you have to give them your quantity?


However when you’ve gotten a hidden disability there’s an added problem: determining if the potential office will actually be welcoming.

Corporations say they need to be accommodating. Any time you learn a job description, you come to that half the place they are saying they’re open to hiring candidates with disabilities. However in my expertise, as somebody with a hidden disability, that’s not at all times the case. I’ve utilized to sufficient jobs to know that fairly often firms aren’t supportive. 

There’s the danger of becoming a member of a firm that’s illiberal or unwilling to make lodging. Earlier than interviewing, I speak to present or former workers. I learn their weblog to see if they are saying something overt about workers with disabilities, or point out any accessibility coaching. Usually I discover that it’s all sizzling air.

If I do determine to use, then I’ve to determine when within the course of to reveal—whether or not that’s to a recruiter or a hiring supervisor. How a lot ought to I inform them about my disability?

Some time again, I had a name with a recruiter. I used to be telling her all the correct issues on the cellphone. You already know, that cookie-cutter reply—how excited I used to be concerning the alternative, how passionate I used to be concerning the work, although the reality was that I used to be scared about having the ability to deal with the chance. She requested me what sort of work I needed to do and I gave her a solution I knew she needed to listen to, although it wasn’t the reality.

After considering it over, and feeling dangerous that I hadn’t been myself, I referred to as her again. I shared with her that I had a hidden disability. She was shocked, and advised me that nobody had ever talked about their hidden disability to her earlier than. She advised me she must be educated on that entrance. 

I used to be delighted that she was sincere about this. Then she advised me she was sorry. I advised her there was nothing to be sorry about. That day I felt higher in my very own pores and skin as a result of I had advised the reality. So from then on, I made a decision I’d typically disclose instantly that I had a disability and wanted lodging for the interview course of. (Typically this occurs within the first cellphone name, or generally I wait a bit till we do our intros.)


Attending to this stage took a lot of guts. Earlier in my profession, once I was interviewing someplace, I’d by no means ask for lodging, and simply undergo the method. However I finally realized to ask the recruiter what the method was and share that I’ve a hidden disability. I needed to raised put together for the interview and requested if there was a kind I wanted to fill out, or what the general course of was. Typically recruiters have responded by asking what kind of lodging I want and I clarify these by way of electronic mail. 

Most firms have listened and I do get lodging. When that hasn’t been the case, it tells me that this won’t be the most effective place for me. Listed here are three issues I take into account when searching for a job, as a individual with a disability:

Do your analysis

The primary technique to discovering a firm that can help you? Do your analysis. Learn the corporate’s blogs and take a look at their social media to see what they speak about and who’s featured. Most significantly, attempt to speak with individuals who may be actual with you. Look at LinkedIn and discover present or ex-employees. You may know somebody who can do an introduction for you so you possibly can study how the corporate actually operates. 

Ask about firm tradition

That is the best factor you are able to do in any interview. Simply ask what’s their opinion of their firm tradition and why they like working there. In my expertise, it’s a tremendous easy query that may have a revealing reply. One time I requested in an interview how the corporate supported variety, inclusion, and accessibility. The girl I used to be interviewing with was unable to provide me a good reply—she mentioned I’d have to speak with HR. I advised her I used to be to know the corporate’s strategy to accessibility as a result of I’ve a disability. She hedged and defined that they have been “a small firm,” which advised me all I wanted to know—that they didn’t have a course of in place to accommodate somebody like me. It was disappointing, however good to know the reality.

Be careful for purple flags

After I interview, I’m always searching for purple flags and the sensation I get once I carry up accessibility. Do they present empathy? Do they pause for a very long time earlier than answering? I’ve discovered you possibly can positively hear the distinction between when somebody is genuinely enthusiastic about inclusion work, versus once they don’t care in any respect.

Terri Rodriguez-Hong is a UX/UI designer in Silicon Valley who helps run a podcast referred to as Ramblings of a Designer. She wholeheartedly believes accessibility is every part and loves to attach the dots between the corporate and the end-user.