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Questions about questions

I am learning a new type of stress coping, and it seems to be the "freak out internally, cry, and take some time out" method. I don't even want to think about all of the stuff I am stressing over at this point. The biggest thing is that next week, I will be interviewing with four agencies to see if I can find someone I'm interested in doing my internship with, and, just as important, see if anyone's interested in working with me.

The thing is, I've never done job interviews. I've been interviewed for other things, like the school newspaper in high school, a few accessibility tests, and such, but mostly, I wasn't even aware they were interviews, and I did well because in general, my blindness was something they wanted, and because I didn't realize they were interviews. I'm currently trying to figure out just what to do for the interviews. How much do I disclose? Should I explicitly ask them if they have questions about my disability? Do I tell them that I have chronic pain? Is the fact that I take controlled medications to attempt controlling my pain going to be a problem at any agency? And how do I broach these issues in a way that makes the interviewer more comfortable with them, not less so?

Yeah, it's definitely a concern or three. And I suspect everyone goes through these doubts and emotional crises. It's just that that's not all I'm dealing with. And I suspect there are as many answers to these questions as there are people. I'm open to any comments or suggestions.

PS: my email inbox hates me, and I hate it at the moment, so if you're waiting for a response, I'm sorry.


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Sep. 20th, 2007 02:48 am (UTC)
interviews, etc.
The question they will ask you is whether you have a condition that could prevent you from doing your job or interfere with it. If it is possible that you may need accommodations related to dealing with RSD, then you should disclose it. This includes time off for appointments, etc. Controlled meds may or may not be a problem. If they do drug screenings for interns/employees, you should disclose your medications--they may or may not affect your screens. If they aren't doing drug testing, then it may be helpful to disclose the fact that you take medication but you are not required to reveal what it is. For the sake of making life better for you, I would recommend carrying your bottles with you rather than individual doses. If there was ever any question about medication usage, you would be cleared.

They will likely have questions about how you will do various things (use the computer, access written material, get from point A to B if there is a need to transport). Some employers want to know how you orient to your surroundings.

Hope this helps. If you have an advisor or someone comfortable in the social work department at school, it may be helpful to ask for a mock interview.
Sep. 20th, 2007 06:44 pm (UTC)
HUGS! You ask some interesting questions, and I'm sure you'll get as many different answers as the people who respond. I have always personally chosen not to mention my blindness before an interview. To me, this gives them the opportunity to turn me down without even giving me a chance to prove myself. Once I'm at the interview however, I'll answer pretty much any question that I'm asked. There are several questions that they are not legally allowed to ask, but I don't remember precisely what those are right now. my theory is just to be as open about things as possible. As far as the medications go though, it's my opinion that they don't need to know that. That kind of information is really none of their business, and shouldn't even be a factor in their decision. If the chronic pain is something that effects your ability to function some days, which I know it does, then that's something that may come up, although I don't know if I'd make it one of those must-mention things.

So anyway, just my thoughts, for what they're worth. Good luck.
Sep. 21st, 2007 02:46 am (UTC)
Job interview disclosure.
Hey Nickie,

First of all, I wouldn't disclose anything about any disabilities via e-mail, over the telephone or in any other context until you're at the face-to-face interview. It has been my experience that doing so gives people a chance to screen you out before they've even had a chance to get that first impression in person.

Of course, it is a great idea (near the midpoint of the interview or so) to invite the panel or person to ask you any questions regarding your disability. They most certainly do have questions, so it is better to invite them yourself rather than letting the others involved in the process potentially feel uncomfortable asking, etc. I would not bring up the chronic pain issues, if at all possible, unless you're considering that to be another disability which may quite likely require reasonable accomodations. Don't mention the medications, either, unless there's drug testing involved and/or it really may impact your ability to carry out the duties of your job. Otherwise, probably, none of their business.

All in all, you want to focus on your qualifications and all the reasons why you're the best woman for the job, and keep that focus away from any perceived burdens you may pose to either your employer or other employees.
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