Etiquette for Interviewing Candidates with Disabilities
It is often the social as well as the legal aspects of interviewing candidates with disabilities that are of concern to human resource professionals. Because of this, Mainstream, Inc. offers the following basic guidelines for focusing the interview on the applicant's qualifications, as reported in Managing Diversity newsletter:
WHEN INTERVIEWING ANY DISABLED APPLICANT...
* Always offer to shake hands. Do not avoid eye contact, but don't stare either.
* If you feel it appropriate, offer the applicant assistance (for example, if an individual with poor grasping ability has trouble opening a door), but don't assume it will necessarily be accepted. Don't automatically give assistance without asking first.
* If you know in advance that an applicant has a particular disability, try to get some information before the interview on how the limitations of the disability may affect the performance of the essential functions of the job.
WHEN INTERVIEWING AN APPLICANT WHO USES A WHEELCHAIR...
* Don't lean on the wheelchair.
* Make sure you get on the same eye level with the applicant during the interview.
* Don't push the wheelchair unless asked.
* Keep accessibility in mind. (Is that chair in the middle of your office a barrier to a wheelchair user? If so, move it aside.)
* Don't be embarrassed to use natural phrases such as "Let's walk over to the plant."
WHEN INTERVIEWING AN APPLICANT WHO IS BLIND...
* Identify yourself and others present immediately; cue a handshake verbally or physically.
* Be descriptive in giving directions. ("The table is about five steps to your left.")
* Don't shout.
* Don't be embarrassed to use natural phrases like "Do you see what I mean?"
* Keep doors either open or closed--not half opened, as this is a serious hazard.
* Don't touch an applicant's cane. Do not touch or pet a guide dog.
* Offer assistance in travel by letting the applicant grasp your left arm, just above the elbow.
WHEN INTERVIEWING AN APPLICANT WHO IS DEAF. …