Job Interview between Deaf and Hearing
~By Lee Jackson
Interviewing itself can be scary. It can be especially intimidating when the interviewer is a business who has never worked with Deaf or hard of hearing employees. Below are some recommendations when preparing for a job interview between Deaf and Hearing from our very own Community Liaison, Lee Jackson.
Preparing for a Job Interview
- Have your resume updated. Consult a friend to review it. Make any edits if needed. Be sure to add your phone number or an email address where they can reach you. Try not to use a Videophone number on the resume as they may turn you down or not give you a chance since most companies do not know how to work with a Deaf person. They may assume all Deaf people are the same when in fact we know hearing levels may vary.
- Plan a mock interview. This will help you prepare to feel more confident with the interviewing process and questions.
- When a company contacts you for a job interview, kindly ask for a sign language interpreter. If they do not have an agency they already contract with, provide your preferred list of agencies, such as MT&A, and their phone number. If they don’t accept hiring an interpreter for the job interviewee or client, kindly refer them to the Current ADA Regulations about Employment (Title I). You will want to explain to them why you need an interpreter for the interview and possibly for trainings and staff meetings if hired. See an example below:
“I use a sign language interpreter for clear communication when we first meet. I want to be sure we understand each other and my knowledge and experience are expressed correctly. English is my second language. I have the right to equal communication access during my interview under the ADA Title I. If I am hired, I am experienced in working out communication tactics on the job without an interpreter. One would only need to be called for job training and meetings. I’m happy to answer any questions you may have about how I communicate and how to work with a sign language interpreter.”
Going to a Job Interview
- Dress appropriately depending on the job you’re applying for and the company itself. Common attire for job interview: shirt, tie, dress pants, and dress shoes for men; appropriate dress or dress top and pants with covered shoes for women. No flip flops!
- Show up about 15 minutes early so you can meet with your interpreter and get to know one another so it will make the communication smoother. Let the interpreter know if you will speak for yourself or want them to voice for you. Show them your resume and questions if you have any written down to ask the interviewee.
- In the interview, answer questions and then ask questions. Possible questions to ask could be:
What kind of culture do you strive for in the work place?
How could I contribute the most to the company mission?
How many employees work here?
What would you recommend is the number one thing I should do to be successful here if I’m hired?
- At the end of the interview, ask questions if they will provide any accommodations if needed. Such as visual fire alarms and etc, videophone/internet services for you to use the vp if needed. Interpreters at large meetings. Depending on the individual and the company, they may provide interpreters or use VRI.
- Finally, show your appreciation that they hired an interpreter. Even though it’s the law, most people want to provide accommodations whether it is or not. They simply don’t know how often times. You know more about sign language and accessibility you require. So be willing to share your knowledge kindly and humbly. Assume the best from them!
- Be sure to thank them for taking their time to interview you.
Find more recommendations about preparing for a job interview between Deaf and Hearing in the video below:
Reputable Sign Language Interpreting Company
If you are Deaf and encounter any concerns or resistance while scheduling an interview with a company, feel free to reach out to MT&A for recommendations. We would also be happy to provide more resources to you or the company. If you are a company looking to hire someone who is Deaf or hard of hearing, let us know what concerns and questions you may have. Our goal is to eliminate your fears about sign language interpreting which may appear in a job interview between Deaf and Hearing candidates/businesses!
Contact: Reservations@mtapractice.com or call (314) 896-0ASL
Princeton University: Preparing for an Interview
The Muse: The Ultimate Interview Guide
How to Interview Deaf Job Candidates Using ASL Interpreters
Hiring a Reputable Sign Language Interpreting Company