Employment “How To” Guide
Prepared by: Renaissance Vocational Services
Not everyone will need to disclose, as many candidates are able to self-accommodate. But there may come a time in your job search when it makes sense to disclose your disability. This guide is meant to help you decide if, when, and how to disclose. This will be different for every person and I am here to support you with that decision. Please call me to discuss your personal disclosure plan.
WHEN TO DISCLOSE:
In the application:
This is a good time to disclose if having a disability would give you an advantage over other candidates. For example, an employer is seeking a Schedule A candidate or you can show that your unique experience as a person with a disability makes you the perfect candidate for the position.
Before the interview:
This is a good time to disclose if you are concerned about needing an accommodation during the interview.
During the interview:
If your disability is visible and you think that it may create concerns about your ability to do the job well, you may want to disclose during the interview. Since the employer may make their own assumptions about what you can and can’t do, disclosure is your opportunity to dispel those untrue beliefs about your ability and to discuss it in a way that helps the employer feel more excited about you as a candidate.
Before you begin your new job:
For many candidates, disclosure doesn’t need to happen during the application or interview process, but once you have a job offer, it may be necessary to disclose if you need to request an accommodation on the job. In this case, you can talk to your direct manager or your Human Resources representative. Remember, everyone needs some accommodation and you will present it in a way that lets them know what you need in order to perform at your best.
On the job:
Even if your disability doesn’t affect your work, you may choose to disclose to avoid misunderstandings with colleagues on the job. Even if you have already disclosed formally to Human Resources, you may want to be prepared with a short disclosure statement that you can also share with coworkers.
Another time you might disclose on the job would be if new tasks are assigned that are not fully accessible or safe for you. It’s OK to disclose at this time and we encourage you to present your ideas for accommodation solutions along with your disclosure.
HOW TO DISCLOSE:
The attitude that you bring to your disclosure will be the attitude employers will take away. It is important to keep it:
On-topic (i.e. as it relates to this position)
You may use this formula to help you craft your disclosure statement:
Step 1: One sentence explaining the functional limitation. Avoid medical jargon, keep it brief.
Step 2: Explain the accommodations as they relate to the position, turn the discussion to what you need in order to perform at your best.
Step 3: Share the benefits of your lived experience as a person with a disability, or share the skills you’ve developed to overcome challenges.
Other beneficial attributes that you may identify with could include:
Step 4: Optional: Offer to answer questions they may have about how you would do the job.