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For anyone navigating the recruitment process it is a time-consuming and often stressful experience.

For individuals who have a disability or long-term health condition it may be even more time-consuming and stressful as you potentially will have additional considerations to think about. These may include requiring adjustments or support, whether or not to refer to your disability during the interview and how to manage your situation amongst other candidates.

The following sections aims to address many of the common issues and concerns raised by students with a disability or long-term health condition.

The application stage is the first interaction between you and the employer. It is therefore important that you present yourself in the best way that you can. The information to include in your application and how it should be phrased are two important considerations for every applicant. For individuals who have a disability or long-term health condition, there are also extra factors to consider such as:

  • Whether you wish to discuss your disability in your application.
  • Including mitigating circumstances in order to explain elements of your application.
  • Accounting for gaps in your education that have arisen from managing your disability or long-term health condition. For more advice on how to address these issues click here (click through to Your CV).

The following sections provide advice that is relevant to any individual applying for jobs, as well as addressing issues and challenges that are specific to those with a disability.

A key decision you are going to have to make is whether or not you are going to refer to your disability in your application.

Whilst it is natural to feel concerned about the prospect of referring to your disability it could also be an excellent way of demonstrating your skills and abilities. Dealing with the daily challenges of having a disability naturally enhances your competencies, strengths, and coping mechanisms. By not talking openly about your disability you may be hiding the competencies that an employer is wishing to recruit.

Top Tips
  • Consider the strengths and skills you have developed as a result of managing your disability.
  • Think about how you can positively refer to your disability in your application.
  • Use a wide variety of examples in order to demonstrate your range of experience. Do not use disability-related examples for too many questions.
Drawing on your disability may be the most effective way of demonstrating what is being asked for.
You have to meet certain criteria, such as academic achievements or work experience, in order to progress through the recruitment process. Having a disability or long-term health condition may have prevented you from meeting these criteria.

When screening your application form, employers will take genuine mitigating circumstances relating to your disability into consideration. However, you need to be very clear that it is due to your disability otherwise it gives the impression of not being capable or not being bothered.

Top Tips:
  • Inform the recruiter of your mitigating circumstances as soon as you can to avoid your being screened out of the recruitment process.
  • Be very clear that your mitigating circumstances are as a consequence of your disability.
  • Explain the facts and ask for these to be taken into consideration.
  • Help the employer to understand the situation.
Remember: having a disability should never be used as an excuse for not meeting the required requirements.
The primary purpose of your application is to get you an interview. Subsequently it will provide a framework for the conversation between you and the interviewer. As you write your CV, put yourself in the shoes of the intended reader - they are reading it to see whether you match the job description and whether you suit their organisation.
As you write your CV, put yourself in the shoes of the intended reader
Recruiters will look through hundreds and thousands of applications for their school leaver, apprentice and graduate programmes. It is crucial that your application stands out in order to guarantee that you progress to the next stage.

Top Tips:
  • Ask yourself: what makes me different & what makes me stand out?
  • Think more broadly than just your academic achievements.
  • Do not underestimate the value of extra- curricular activities.
  • All experience is relevant; it does not have to be industry related.
It is crucial that your application stands out in order to guarantee that you progress to the next stage.
Spending time researching the organisation will not only benefit you in the application process, it will also help prepare you for the interview stage. A well-researched application is more evident than you might think and will encourage the employer to spend more time reviewing it.

Top Tips:
  • Be selective in the research you include and ensure it is in depth and up to date.
  • Only include information that you are enthusiastic about and consider worthy of mention.
  • Resist the temptation to copy and paste directly from newspapers and websites; adapt and justify why this information is relevant or of interest to you.
Whatever you include in your CV you need to be prepared to talk about at interview.
In order to secure an interview, you must be able to demonstrate your competencies effectively in your application. This can only be done if you can give (succinct) evidence to back up your claims.

I'm a hard-working, self-motivated team player with a real interest in investment banking.

This may be true however you need to substantiate this:

  • Which teams have you participated in?
  • What have you done to demonstrate you are hard-working?

Top Tips:
  • The about what competencies the employer is looking for and consider how you can demonstrate these competencies through your own life achievements.
  • Avoid clichés.
  • You have limited space - ensure you give focus and relevant examples based on your experience.
I'm a hard-working, self-motivated team player with a real interest in investment banking.
  • Adaptable. Tailor your application for each job opportunity to apply for.
  • Keep it simple. Less can be more.
  • Relevant. Be selective of your key skills and achievements.
  • Sell yourself. Match your skills to their job description.
  • Be honest. It's the only way to start any relationship.
  • Understand your strengths. Ask yourself what you enjoy doing and what you are good at and include evidence of this in your application.
  • Develop commercial awareness. Keep up to date and research the wider issues that affect the organisation you are applying to.

Many recruiters use online testing as a way of screening applicants and reducing the number being taken through to the interview stage. There are various types of tests, these include but are not limited to numerical, verbal reasoning, logical and personality.

You wouldn't go into an exam without doing some revision first; the same goes for recruitment tests. Many recruiters will have practice tests on their careers websites and it is advisable to prepare by taking as many as you can. Practice tests can also be found online.

Top Tips:
  • Practice as much as possible prior to taking a test as part of the recruitment process.
  • As a result of practising the tests, be clear what adjustments you are going to need and why.
Practicing the tests may provide you with a clearer understanding of the impact your disability has on your ability to complete the tests and what adjustments you may be require.
Your disability or long-term health condition may mean that in order for you to demonstrate your full potential you need to have an adjustment to the test. These adjustments will vary depending on what type of test it is, how it is structured and how you are required to perform the tasks.

You must inform the recruiter of the adjustments you require prior to taking the tests; leaving it until afterwards is too late and you may not be given the opportunity to re-sit them.

Top Tips:
  • Be knowledgeable of what adjustments you will require in order that the tests are not a barrier to your success.
  • Inform the recruiter as early as you can about the adjustments you will need.
To ensure the appropriate adjustments are made for you, you must inform the recruiter of your requirements.
  • Practice. Ensure you are prepared for the test you are going to sit.
  • Request any required adjustments. Ensure you request the adjustments in plenty of time for them to be implemented.
  • A quiet environment. Ensure you are somewhere quiet and not going to be interrupted for the duration of the test.
  • Speed and accuracy. Both are both important in order to produce the optimal results of the test.

If you do well in the testing stage, and your CV / application form impress the recruiters, the next step is usually a telephone interview. The telephone interview is quicker and more convenient for both you and the interviewer. However, they can be a challenge since neither party can see the other, so the usual visual clues are absent. If you are unable to participate in a telephone interview as a result of your disability, or are likely to find it difficult, you should inform the recruiter of this. The telephone interview may be replaced by a face-to-face interview.

A telephone interview is just as important as any other stage in the recruitment process; if you do not meet the organisation's calibre benchmark you will not progress to the next stage.

In addition to thinking about the main points that you want to convey, your additional preparation may include: researching the firm, reading recent press articles and thinking about any questions that you may have for the interviewer.

Top Tips:
  • Ensure that the recruiter has the correct telephone number on which to contact you.
  • Use a quiet room with good phone reception and, if using a mobile phone, with no background noise and where you will not be interrupted.
  • If you are using your mobile phone, make sure you have reception and that the battery is fully charged.
Re-familiarise yourself with your application and be prepared to talk about what you included in it.
It can be a good idea to prepare some prompt cards with examples you want to bring up in conversation.

Top Tips:
  • If using prompt cards, include bullet points as opposed to a long script.
  • Organise your prompt cards in front of you prior to the interview.
  • Do not read aloud from a script as it will sound unnatural.
Do not read from a script as it will sound unnatural and prevent you from building a rapport.
In order to demonstrate your potential during the telephone interview, you may require an adjustment to be made to this part of the process due to your disability or long-term health condition.

To enable the organisation to implement the necessary adjustments, inform them of what you need and why as soon as you can.

  • Prepare. Prepare for your telephone interview as if it were a face-to-face interview.
  • Ask for clarification. Do not be afraid to ask for clarification or for questions to be repeated should you require it.
  • Listen to the question. Answer what you are being asked - not what you wanted to be asked.
  • Sound enthusiastic. Come across as interested and lively; a monotone voice will not be engaging.

An interview is your chance to come face to face with representatives of the firm and to really show them that you have got what it takes to be successful in their organisation. As well as thinking about how to answer questions, if you have a disability or long-term health condition you will also need to decide whether to discuss or refer to this during the interview. You may also need to request any adjustments or support you require during the interview in order to demonstrate your potential. This section looks at all aspects of preparing for and undertaking an interview, including the additional considerations for someone with a disability.

During the interview the employer will be aiming to find out more about you based on what they already know from your application. They will look to see whether your skills, competencies and personal qualities match their person specification.

In terms of disability, the interview is not an opportunity to discuss what adjustments you might need if you were to be offered a position. It is highly unlikely that the interviewer will bring up your disability or what support you require. However if you wish to talk about it during the interview, you can mention it in your questions as the interview is coming to a close.

Top Tips:
  • During the interview concentrate on your abilities and strengths, not on what support you need.
  • If you wish to talk about the support you will need, leave this until the end of the interview.
  • Discuss your requirements positively; provide recommendations as to what you may require.
Use the interview to find out about them and to decide whether you would wish to work there.
The interviewer is likely to refer to your application form during the interview; you should re-familiarise yourself with what you included in your application and be prepared to talk about it. Think about what you may be asked to talk about during the interview and prepare examples to draw upon.

Top Tips:
  • Know the time, date and location of the interview, and the name of the interviewer if you have been given this.
  • Have a contact phone number to hand in case you experience any travel problems.
  • Concentrate on the interview at the interview - nothing else.
The basic approach to any good interview is to be well prepared.
As well as finding out about your motivations for applying to the company, and what you know about it, the interview will also be looking at whether your skills match the position you are applying for. You need to have thought about your strengths and be able to draw upon a variety of examples from different parts of your life that illustrate why you are right for the role.

Many organisations use behavioural or competency-based questions as part of their selection processes where the interviewer will be looking for specific examples about exactly what you achieved or demonstrated in such situations. Try to find out in advance if the interview is competency-based and prepare accordingly.

Top Tips:
  • Prepare examples you want to use ahead of the interview however only use them if they are relevant.
  • Listen to the question; if you don't understand it, ask for it to be rephrased.
  • Avoid rambling in your answers, especially if you do not know the answer.
You should be sufficiently prepared in order that you can talk about every point you make on your CV.
The interview process is designed to ensure you find the role that suits you; it is therefore important to be genuine and to show them who you really are. Do your research and be prepared to answer their question as well as preparing some of your own to ask them. It is important you use the opportunity to find out about them and their culture.

Top Tips:
  • Take time to sit down and think about you: who you are and what you've achieved.
  • The most common interview question is "Tell us about yourself"; be prepared to answer this succinctly.
  • Interviewers usually want to know about your personal qualities rather than your achievements.
The employer is interested in you as a person, your experiences and your opinions; don't pretend to be someone.
Whilst some individuals are very happy to refer to their disability during the interview, others are less happy to do so. This is totally understandable since your disability and how you manage it is personal to you.

Remember that everyone should draw upon a wide variety of examples to answer questions to demonstrate your range of experience. By mentioning your disability in this way, you are in control of the conversation and can project a positive image for your interviewer. However, you should not use disability-related examples for too many questions.

Top Tips:
  • Present all examples, including disability related ones, positively.
  • Ensure you draw upon a wide range of examples to demonstrate your different strengths.
  • If you are going to use disability-related examples, be prepared to answer further questions about this.
Decide prior to the interview whether or not you are going to use disability-related examples to demonstrate your competencies.
Due to your disability or long-term health condition you may require an adjustment to be made to the interview process in order to demonstrate your full potential. The aim of such an adjustment is to level the playing field; it should provide you with neither an advantage nor a disadvantage;

An adjustment to the interview process will enable you to be assessed on an equal basis to your peers.

If you do require an adjustment it is your responsibility to communicate this to the organisation in plenty of time to enable them to both source and implement what you require. Failure to do so may result in your interview being delayed.

Top Tips:
  • Know what adjustments you require and be confident to request them.
  • Help the employer understand what you need and why.
  • Be timely in your request; the earlier you ask the easier it is for the employer to implement.
An adjustment to the interview process will enable you to be assessed on an equal basis to your peers.
  • Prepare. If you fail to prepare, you are preparing to fail.
  • Sell your self: Concentrate on demonstrating your strengths and abilities.
  • Listen to the question. Ensure you answer the question you are being asked; not what you would like to have been asked.
  • Gather your thoughts. Do not be afraid to pause and gather your thoughts ahead of answering a question in order to remain focused.
  • Request what you need. Asking for support or adjustments will ensure you can demonstrate your full potential.

The assessment centre is usually the final stage of the selection process. If you have a disability or long-term health condition you may need an adjustment to be made for the assessment centre even if you have required one before now. For those of you with a visible or noticeable disability, or if you need an obvious adjustment, you should think about how you manage this with your fellow applicants in terms of whether you feel you need to say or explain anything.

Assessment centres are used to assess how you perform in a variety of different situations as well as to assess a variety of skills / competencies. They are often used to see how you interact with other people; they will be looking for candidates who are going to work well with their colleagues.

Assessment centres will provide you with an opportunity to meet with a number of representatives from the organisation.

Top Tips:
  • Use the experience to find out about the company and whether you wish to work there.
  • Concentrate on your own performance, not how you compare to others.
  • Take on board any feedback for future assessment centres.
If you're an outstanding candidate, you'll stand out naturally, so be genuine.
Prior to an assessment centre find out as much as possible about it as you can; including the format, who you will meet from the organisation and the assessment criteria.

Top Tips:
  • Think of questions you may want to ask however don't ask questions for the sake of it.
  • Converse with other candidates; this will help when it comes to group exercises later.
  • Find out about whether there will be dinner/drinks and who will be attending this.
Be prepared for what is going to happen, rather than being taken by surprise on arrival.

Assessment centres can vary greatly between organisations from a series of interviews with various people in the organisation to role-plays, group activities, case studies, presentations and group discussions.

Each exercise will be designed to assess any number of skills, attributes and / or competencies in order that the assessors can gain an overall picture of your ability and suitability for the role.

Remember, they want you to do well and have invited you to this stage because they believe you can.

Top Tips:
  • Stay focused and motivated through the day; even if you are feeling tired.
  • Use the assessment centre to find out about them as an employer and to weigh up whether they are an organisation that you would wish to work for.
  • Be yourself; they want to recruit the real you not someone you are pretending to be.
You are being measured against certain criteria, not against the other candidates.
By the time you reach the assessment centre you may already have had a number of adjustments made to the various stages of the recruitment process. On the other hand, this may be the first time in the process where you need to request an adjustment or some support.

Either way you will need to engage in open dialogue with the organisation about what your needs are.

Remember that recruiters are dealing with many, many applicants and it is therefore understandable that they may need you to remind them of your requirements.

Top Tips:
  • Find out what the assessment entails so you can identify what adjustments you may need.
  • Be open and honest about what you need in order to do your best.
  • Provide plenty of time for them to source and implement what you need; failure to do so many result in your assessment centre being delayed.
Provide the employer with enough time to source and implement what you need.
Depending on your disability and how it manifests itself, you may have to consider how to manage it with the other candidates.

If you do decide it would be beneficial for the other candidates to know, you need to think how you will inform them - whether you inform them yourself or ask the recruiter to do this on your behalf.

By now you will have begun to build a rapport with the recruiting organisation. The more open and honest you have been about your situation earlier in the process the easier you will find it to have these conversations at this stage.

Top Tips:
  • Work out what you are going to do in plenty of time rather than after you have arrived.
  • If you are going to inform the other candidates, do so at the beginning in order that you can then concentrate on the assessment centre.
  • Think about what the right thing for you is and what will help you demonstrate your full potential.
To decide how relevant it is for other candidates to know, it is advisable to discuss this with the person managing the recruitment process prior to attending the assessment centre.
  • Confidence. Be confident in your abilities, but not overbearing.
  • Be sociable with everyone. Come prepared to interact with both your peers and company representatives.
  • Immerse yourself in the process. Whilst there, focus solely on the assessment centre; block out all external distractions.
  • Ensure clarity of tasks. Listen carefully to instructions and guidance given; don't be afraid to ask when you are unsure.
  • Remember the basics. Be punctual, dress appropriately and switch your mobile phone off.

Ensure your application / CV highlights your achievements in a clear yet concise manner and that any gaps are carefully explained.

  • Apply as early as you can early in the campus recruitment season (as employers usually recruit on a rolling basis).
  • Do not leave it until the last minute to apply; allow yourself time to think about how you will answer the questions.
  • Attention to detail is key throughout the application process; read over everything before submitting.
  • Be positive, prepared and punctual for any interview.
  • Think about your strengths in advance and have concrete examples to back them up.
  • If you are going to ask questions at the interview make sure they are realistic, inquisitive and interesting.
  • Interact with Candidates and Assessors at an Assessment Centre, showcasing your skills and personality.
  • Be enthusiastic and confident in your ability.
  • If you need an adjustment let the employer know in plenty of time to enable them to source and implement it.
  • It is acceptable to refer to your disability in order to demonstrate a particular competency; just ensure you don't only use disability-related examples.