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702 W. Johnson Street, Suite 2104
Madison, WI 53715-1007

Main Office Numbers: 608-263-2741(voice)
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McBurney Disability Resource Center

Disability and the Interview Process

As you prepare for an interview, you will need to start thinking about how your disability impacts you throughout the job search process. You will need to decide whether or not to disclose your disability prior to or during your interview and/or whether or not you will need accommodations to participate in the process. To help guide this process so that you can make an informed decision, we have gathered helpful resources that you can access below.

Requesting Accommodations for the Interview

If you know that you will require reasonable accommodations to fully participate in the interview process, be sure to disclose this information early in order to give the hiring organization ample time to get everything arranged. The Job Accommodation Network's Practical Guide to Reasonable Accommodations identifies some common interview accommodations which include: an accessible interview location for people with mobility impairments, a sign language interpreter for a person who is deaf, a reader for a person who is blind, and modified testing for a person with a learning disability. According to the U.S. Department of Labor's information on disclosure, you should consider disclosing your disability to the supervisor responsible for the hiring, promoting, and/or firing of employees. This person needs to be informed of your disability-related needs to provide the necessary supports and judge your performance fairly.

For further information on requesting reasonable accommodations, please visit the Job Accommodation Network's Guide to Negotiating and Requesting Reasonable Accommodations.

Disclosure during the Interview

If you do not feel that accommodations will be necessary to fully participate in the interview but believe that you will require reasonable accommodations once on the job, you may want to consider disclosing your disability during the interview. For further information on the pros and cons of disclosing in an interview and tips on how to disclose your disability in the interview, please review our web page on disclosure and take a look at the Disclosure Decisions to Get the Job PDF.

Handling Improper Interview Questions

When you are preparing for an interview as a person with a disability, it is important to understand what an employer can and cannot ask in regards to your condition. Employers are permitted, pre-offer, to ask limited questions about reasonable accommodation if they have a reason to believe that the applicant may need accommodation because of an obvious or voluntarily disclosed disability; however, questions about a disability that venture outside of this realm may not be legal. For further information on illegal interview questions and advice on how to handle them, please use the resources outlined below.

  • Legal versus Illegal Interview Questions – The DirectEmployers Association has compiled a list of legal and illegal interview questions. These questions not only touch on disability but also other characteristics that could lead to discrimination such as age, sex, and national origin.
  • Responding to Illegal Interview Questions – California Polytechnic State University provides an article that offers tips on how to respond to illegal interview questions, should they arise.
  • How my Rights Change Once an Offer is Made – The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recognizes that after an employer makes a conditional offer to an applicant, they may ask any disability-related question or require a medical examination so long as all individuals selected for the same job are asked the same questions or made to take the same examination.
File last updated: April 13, 2017. 09:08:42 am
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