Do you feel anxious about how to find a job that makes you happy while living with a disability? Research suggests there are valid reasons to be concerned. According to the US Department of Labor, the 2011 unemployment rate for adults with disabilities was 15 percent, 72 percent higher than the 8.7 percent unemployment rate for adults without disabilities.
Monster explains that often interviewer bias is a discouraging reality for those with disabilities: “Interviewers may be uncomfortable or worry that a disability in one area will carry over into others.”
How can you ease your anxieties that interviewers will judge you for your disability when trying to find a job?
There’s no easy answer, but there are two common strategies you can use when looking for a job while struggling with a disability, plus a third new strategy you may want to also consider.
Disclose your disability at the outset
When trying to find a job as a disabled job seeker, you may simply want to adopt the strategy of revealing your disability on your resume. In certain circumstances, this method may be effective: for example, if an organization is looking for a visually impaired counsellor to counsel the visually impaired, you would be best-advised to disclose your own sight impairment. In many other situations, however, disclosing your disability on your resume can open the floodgates to interviewer bias and rejection.
According to Monster, including: fewer interview invitations; giving the employer a reason to eliminate you; and finally, protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act that permits you to remain silent about your disability.
Keep your disability hidden for as long as you can
Many employment experts advise those with a disability and job anxiety not to reveal the disability right away, and many people with disabilities cite some valid reasons why they don’t disclose. The Muse tells the story of Mandy, who keeps her disability hidden because she wants to be considered for promotions. “I know that legally they can't hold your illness against you, but I live in the real world, and they hold it against you. So the longer they are in the dark, the better.”
Nonetheless, the choice to disclose a disability depends on your circumstances. Sometimes it may not be possible or beneficial to hide your disability. For example, if you have a disease—such as arthritis, or Crohn’s disease—that requires you to take frequent rest breaks or bathroom breaks or whose symptoms are otherwise hard to hide, you might want to disclose, just so your employer doesn’t assume you’re simply slacking off.
Try a bias-free hiring solution
If you find yourself torn between disclosing and not disclosing your disability and are still wondering how to find a job that makes you happy while dealing with a disability, there now is a third way of addressing disability in the job search. New technology means the rise of hiring opportunities that do not rely on resumes or in-person interviews. One such hiring solution is Geekbidz, which uses Artificial Intelligence to allow job seekers to do a skills assessment and then be placed in an on-the-job evaluation with a job that best fits their skills.
This resume-free, interview-free opportunity might be ideal for job seekers with a disability who are trying to decide whether or not to disclose their disability in the early stages of the hiring process. With no resume or interview involved, there’s no need to reveal (or hide) a disability early on: hiring is purely based on your skills and fit for a job.
To Disclose or Not Disclose Your Disability—Or Try a New Solution
There’s really no one-size fits all solution to the problem of disclosing your disability while trying to find a job. Unfortunately, interviewer bias against those struggling with disability is real, but it’s also sometimes counterproductive to hide one’s disability on the job. One of the best emerging alternative solutions is an Artificial-Intelligence led hiring platform that eliminates resumes and interviews and focuses instead on skills, increasing the likelihood of both being hired and being valued for your skills enough to be protected against job loss, despite your disability.