Anna Hughes: In a job interview, do I have ‘special requirements?’

Posted on April 19, 2012

When I was completing job application forms recently, I kept facing the same dilemma.

I usually tick the disability/sensory impairment box – no problem! However, another box lurks deep amongst the depths of the many-paged form. It is the old “do you have any special requirements for attending an interview?” question.

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve gone to an office, knocked on windowless or obscured doors, frightened of not hearing the call to “come in.”

Often, I’m dying to hold my ear right up against the door to see if I can hear a call, but restrain myself from doing so. I don’t want to be thought of as a potential “eavesdropper”- especially when there is no danger of me actually hearing any gossip!

I usually knock louder (though knocking too loud or frequently runs the risk of angering the voice from within!) hoping they will give a louder call, or come and open the door, at which point I can apologise for not hearing the first time (and hope they can excuse the louder knock).

But sometimes the prospect of being made to seem ‘different’ in front of other waiting candidates and future colleagues (potentially), makes me think ‘the receptionist can help me…they will collect me…the room will be a small office… the seating will be face-to-face’ so I take the chance, and leave the ‘special requirements’ box unticked.

Yet, if I was lucky enough to get an interview, I would need to consider how my deafness could come up, and have an answer in mind. I would probably need an amplified telephone if I got the job, or to be exempt from using it, which I need to tell them about at an appropriate moment (Perhaps when asked “any questions for us?”).

Ticking the box earlier for sensory disability should prompt them to ask about any disability needs (if they they noticed it on the form), which I’d do my best to answer positively.

So which way should I go? It’s a choice I make after much deliberation for each application I submit.

Fingers crossed…

Since childhood, Anna has harnessed a passion for writing and drama. Her career has mainly seen her take on roles in Schools and Hospitals. She has also worked with clients who have learning disabilities in their supported employment, as a support worker. She is a member of a local amateur dramatics company, and is a hearing aid user.

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Posted in: anna hughes, features