When applying for jobs, you are often asked the question: ‘Do you have a disability?’ or ‘Do you consider yourself to have a disability?’ It can be difficult to know how to answer this not least that disability tends to have negative connotations and suggests limitation rather than ability. It can also be seen as a harsh label that people don’t wish to identify with. And it is a very broad term and it is difficult to know what is included and therefore, whether or not you do have a disability.
A useful way to consider the question is to instead think about the following:
1.What is covered by the term ‘disability’?
Disability, and long-term health conditions, cover a broad spectrum of conditions including, including but not limited to: visual and hearing impairments, mobility impairments, Asperger’s Syndrome, diabetes, epilepsy, dyslexia, dyspraxia, mental health conditions, speech impairments and major illnesses such as cancer and MS.
2. Why is the employer asking you this question?
There are a number of reasons that the employer is asking you this question during the recruitment process however the main reason is to understand what support you may require to demonstrate your potential. They are therefore not really interested in what your disability is as opposed to knowing how they can best support you.
3. How is the information used?
Any information you provide during the recruitment process is treated in confidence. It will not be shared beyond the recruitment team with, for example hiring managers, unless you have given your permission for this to happen. At this point, the information is solely used to put in place the support and adjustments that you may need during the recruitment process.
4. What support may you need during the recruitment process?
As a result of your disability or long-term health condition you may need the process to be changed or for support to be provided in order for you to demonstrate your suitability for the role. Whilst it can be difficult to know what you may need not least that every process is different, it is worth spending time really thinking about what you may need at each stage of the process in order that you can do your best.
Whatever information you share with a prospective employer, the key is to do so positively. When you have a disability, it’s too easy to think of things you can’t do, or can no longer do, or find difficult. Instead, think about the skills and abilities that you have developed as a result of having a disability.
At MyPlus, we don’t believe that having a disability makes you any more special than anyone else but we do believe that it gives you something extra; a ‘plus’. And these are the skills and abilities that you have had to develop in order to manage your disability on a day-to-day basis in a world that is not always geared up to it. Things such as determination, problem solving and interpersonal skills. So when positioning your disability, draw on these skills and provide the employer with a positive picture of who you are.