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Interviewing Candidates with Disabilities

An interview will help you assess a candidate's technical, behavioral, and motivational fit. When a candidate with a disability asks for necessary and reasonable accommodations, it is important to fulfill those requests to help ensure that all candidates receive equitable consideration.  The following information will assist you in your interview process and will help you create a welcoming environment for candidates with disabilities.
  • Do not ask about the nature, severity or condition of a disability.
  • Do not ask about any prognosis or expectation regarding a disability.
  • Do not ask whether the person will need treatment while employed.
  • Do not ask about the progress of an illness, even if the candidate volunteers information about a medical condition, its remission, or treatment.
  • Do not ask about the medical history of any candidate.
  • Ask the same questions of the candidate with a disability as you would a candidate without a disability.
  • Ask questions related to the essential functions of the job and ask if they are able to perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodations.
  • Seek assistance from the Office of AA/EEO if accommodations may be necessary for the performance of essential functions (e.g., a visually-impaired employee may require larger font on a computer screen). 
  • Ensure that the interview location is accessible (e.g path of travel from parking, building entrances, restrooms, availability of an elevator).  Check on the nearest location of accessible parking spaces, available ramps, elevators, and accessible restrooms; communicate to the candidate these locations.
  • Enable candidates who use crutches, canes, or wheelchairs to keep them within reach; be aware that some candidates may choose to transfer themselves out of their wheelchair into an office chair for the interview.
  • To facilitate conversation when interviewing a candidate in a wheelchair, sit at that person’s eye level.
  • Never touch or lean on a person’s wheelchair; a wheelchair is part of the body space that belongs to the person who uses it.
  • Use a normal voice tone and at a moderate pace.
  • A candidate may lip-read; therefore, look directly at the candidate when speaking and maintain eye contact.
  • Speak expressively because the candidate may rely on facial expressions, gestures, and body movements to understand you.
  • Keep your hands away from your mouth when speaking.
  • Use a sign language interpreter, if needed.  Contact Human Resources for available resources.
    • The interpreter should be seated beside the interviewer, across from the candidate.  If there are multiple interviewers, ask the candidate where they would prefer the interpreter to sit.
    • Speak to the candidate, not to the interpreter and always maintain eye contact with the candidate
  • Do not shout or raise your voice.
  • Do not pretend to understand if you do not; ask the candidate to repeat what you do not understand.
  • Exercise patience by allowing adequate time for the candidate to speak rather than attempting to speak for them or complete their sentences.
  • Always identify yourself and introduce anyone else who is present when greeting a person with a vision impairment.
  • Ask the candidate with a visual impairment if they would like to take your arm at or above the elbow for guidance to the interview room.
  • Provide verbal directions as to the location of the seat.
  • Never pet or distract a service animal.
  • If there will be written materials in the interview, find out before the interview if there is an alternative format the person would prefer such a large print or Braille (seek guidance from the Office of Accessibility).
  • Greet the candidate as you would welcome all candidates.
  • If performing an action that may not be obvious to the candidate, alert the candidate to the action (e.g., announce to a vision impaired person: “Let me shake your hand.”) 
  • People with prosthetics or limited arm and hand motion usually shake hands.
  • Be sure to focus on the person, not the disability.
  • Schedule the interview in a building with an elevator, accessible restrooms, and an accessible entrance.
  • Create an environment that is accessible to individuals with disabilities (contact the Office of Accessibility for additional information and assistance).  Provide the candidate a detailed agenda and ask if any special accommodations are needed for the interview process (Contact the Office of Accessibility for assistance and guidance).
  • Develop a list of interview questions that are job-related and pertinent to the essential and non-essential functions.
Human Resources

Phone:                        304-766-3156
Fax:                             304-766-4156
Campus Address:    105 Cole Complex
Hours:                        Monday - Friday
                                     8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.


Human Resources

Employee RelationsInterviewing CandidatesSearch Committee Resources
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