So you have compiled your CV in a professional manner and the job hunting starts. You send your CV to recruitment agencies, respond to ads in newspapers and perhaps apply for a job via on-line websites.
You apply, you wait, you apply, you wait. Just as you are about to become despondent, the phone rings and you are asked to come for a job interview! You are given the location, date and time of the interview. You agree on the details of the interview and inform the caller that you look forward to the interview. Once you have put the phone down, a million questions pop into your head. Is the venue accessible for a person with a physical disability? Is there parking near the interview venue. What info should you prepare? and so on.
Allow your anxieties to kick start you into taking action. Realise that the interview is the place where you make your mark, showcasing your abilities and personality. It is the one major opportunity to sell who you are, your positive attitude, your talents and skills and what you can offer the prospective employer. Remember that, although your CV contains most of your employment info, presenting the facts in person has a huge impact on the interviewer.
So prepare well for your interview because you will be competing with your peers with disabilities and even perhaps other candidates as well.
Aspects to consider when preparing for an interview:
Interview Accessibility: if the caller has not provided information on the accessibility of the venue, take the initiative and request the relevant info, especially if you have mentioned your disability in your CV. Ask whether there are parking facilities near the venue and whether accommodations have been made for your specific disability. These questions will not disadvantage your application in any way as employers are required to make accommodations from the onset of the recruitment process.
Knowing that accommodations have been made will put you more at ease when you reach the interview venue. It will also give you a sense that the employer’s work environment and culture is disabled friendly and an all inclusive environment. Arrive at the interview venue a little bit earlier so that you can settle down and become relaxed.
The job advert: read and make sure that you understand the job requirements as indicated in the job advert. Keep the advert at hand when preparing to answer questions relating to the specific job.
Understand the organisation: if you have access to the internet, go to the organisation’s website and read their mission statement as well as what their core business is. Look at other pages and familiarise yourself with their product and service offerings. It places you at an advantage when answering questions regarding the job if you understand the high level functioning of the organisation.
Display confidence: know that as a person with a disability you represent a designated group as per the EE Act. You should not feel less of a candidate and you should not focus on negative aspects as this will influence your performance during the interview. You were shortlisted for the interview because your skills, experience and potential match the inherent requirements of that specific job. It is about your ability! Say to yourself, and believe it, that you have much to offer this employer. Go into the interview prepared, hold your head up straight, smile and make eye contact with the interviewer. This will show your self confidence and will make a good first impression on the employer.
Prepare your responses: certain questions are always asked so rehearse your response. Always answer the question that was asked and do not go off at a tangent. Practice ways to relax during the interview and be aware of how you and your behaviour come across to the interviewer. Give brief but detailed answers. When thinking of an answer to a question, keep your nerves under control. Answer questions with passion and energy as this will ignite a good answer.
Dress for success: get your out fit ready before and make sure that it is comfortable. Choose a classical out fit with colours that compliment your image and make you look energised. Feeling comfortable and looking professional will make you feel good and this will boost your confidence.
Work and employment has become extremely competitive and job opportunities are becoming less as you compete with other skilled candidates. It is important to prepare well for your interview as this the platform for you to sell yourself. Why should the interviewer choose you?
Being prepared will certainly increase your chances of becoming that successful candidate!