When I first started getting interviews for jobs that I’ve applied for, I wondered how and when to tell my potential employer about my hearing loss. I was worried that disclosing it would impact my getting the job.
This was several years ago. Now diversity, equity and inclusion has been put into the spotlight. Employers are more likely to approach the reveal of a disability with understanding rather than apprehension.
After several interviews, here are some tips that I found worked for me.
Tip #1: If you are asked to do an initial screening interview over the phone, provide an alternative option instead.
I have trouble hearing over the phone, and much prefer having any interview be done in person or via virtual video call. I would state that due to my hearing loss, I have trouble hearing over the phone and would much prefer to meet in person or do the interview via video call.
Anytime that I requested that, I always got the option to meet in person or do the interview on a video call.
Tip #2: If you have not disclosed your hearing loss yet, do so at the end of the interview.
If, for whatever reason, the chance hasn’t come for me to disclose my hearing loss, I would typically do it at the end of the interview. I do that due to three reasons:
- Questions come at the end. When the hiring manager or recruiter asks me if I have any questions, I say, “I have hearing loss. Will that affect any portion of this job and my ability to do it?”
- At this point, the employer will have a good sense of my personality and hearing skills – with no previous assumptions being made.
- It’s best to gauge the employer’s reaction. Their reaction can be a good judge of workplace culture and whether or not they are willing to accommodate you.
Tip #3: When meeting with a hiring manager, request a quiet room to do your interview.
You never know if the space your interview is held in will be in a noisy area, like the company cafeteria, or in a quiet meeting room. It’s best to just request this before the interview to prevent any fumbling on the actual day.
Tip #4: If asked the question “What are your weaknesses?”, do not say that hearing loss is one of them.
When an employer asks that question, they are referring to any skills that you can actively work on to improve. Your hearing loss is not a skill, but something that others should be mindful of.