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Preparing for an Interview

It is important to decide before the interview whether you plan to disclose your disability.

If You Decide to Disclose the Disability

You still control the information to be disclosed. An employer is prohibited from inquiring about the nature and extent of the disability more than is necessary to establish the existence of a disability and the need for a reasonable accommodation.

Essential Job Functions

The employer has the right to determine whether you are able to perform the essential job functions — but must treat all applicants in the same manner.

Remember: you must be able to perform the essential job functions in order to be protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Be Prepared to Answer Questions About Your Qualifications Without Discussing Details of Your Disability That You Do Not Want To Disclose

Employers and applicants often confuse the employer’s right to ask about the applicant’s qualifications with information about the disability.

Focus on your skills and abilities, and not on the disability.

Note: The employer should not have job qualifications that would tend to exclude persons with disabilities and are not essential functions.

Employers Can Ask If You Need s Reasonable Accommodation

Once you disclose the disability, you may request a reasonable accommodation which would allow you to participate in the employment to the same extent as a person without a disability. In the interview process, the only time the employer can inquire about a disability is if a reasonable accommodation is requested.

Be Prepared to Ask for an Accommodation If You Need One

It may be helpful to bring a doctor’s letter verifying the disability if you expect to request an accommodation.

Note: Employers cannot require that you be examined by their doctor or medical professional before a job offer is made. The employer does not have the right to review your private medical records.

After a job offer is made, the employer can ask questions about the disability and require a medical examination — provided that everyone is required to have a medical examination. 

Interview Preparations If You Decide Not to Disclose

If you are not disclosing a disability, you must be prepared to respond to questions that could raise the topic, such as:

  • gaps in your employment history
  • job training or work experience associated with a provider known to work with persons with disabilities
  • References who know you from recovery or treatment related activities

Be careful not to make an inadvertent disclosure.

Remember: You can still request a reasonable accommodation after you have been offered a position. You do not need to ask for it at the interview.

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