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									Embracing the Elephant in the
 Room: Interviewing Ideas for
   Applicants who are Deaf
          Julia Smith, Ph.D., CRC, LPC
          Western Oregon University

Partners Building Bridges: Overcoming Challenges through
                Leadership and Collaboration
                      SCD Conference
                      August 24, 2010
What is meant by “Elephant in the

   Competition for Employment
• Employment rate for those with
  disabilities - 35%
• Employment rate for persons with no
  disability - 78% (NOD, 2007)

  Discrimination and Bias in the
• Current literature
  – Employers have a positive attitude
    toward people with disabilities
  – Employers are reluctant to hire people
    with disabilities
     • 19% of companies employ people with disabilities
     • 72% say the nature of their work is too challenging for
       people with disabilities
 Laws that Protect Persons with

  – 20th Anniversary
  – Helpful to deaf employees?

    Searching for a Job is a Job
• Four hours a day is recommended
• Keep a consistent schedule
• Focus on the resume
  – Customize objectives for specific job
  – Chronological is best
  – Functional good when there are gaps
  – Use same language as the web page or
    from an informational interview
        Professional Etiquette
• First impressions are critical
  – Present yourself as a professional at all
• Understand your role as a job seeker
  – Email
  – Meeting people at conference
• Ethical considerations
  – “Deaf grapevine”
  – On-line communication

Prepare for Interview:
    Know the Job

           Employer Concerns
• Lack of knowledge of disability or the ADA
• Don’t know how to interview individuals who are deaf
  or hard of hearing
• Concern of how co-worker and deaf or hard of hearing
  employee will interact
• Reasons why employers don’t grant accommodations
   – Undue burden – too difficult/expensive
   – Fundamental alteration – change actual job
   – Safety or direct threat
• Lack of exposure to success stories
       What Employer Really
         Wants to Know
• What will I need to do differently to
  supervise this individual?
• What can I expect from this individual in
  terms of production? Will I need to
  compromise what I ask her to do?
• Can I use my normal approach to
  correct/discipline the worker?
• What else do I need to know that I don’t
  even know to ask?                       10
          Interview Preparation
• Always request an informational interview
• Work with others to help develop skills
• “Practice” as much as possible (doesn’t matter
• Go through mock interviews
• Try different strategies
• Understand the ADA and meaning of
  “Reasonable Accommodations”
  – Example of when you might need an interpreter
  – Useable technology
Interviewing Skills

            Disability Disclosure
“Certainly, if you know that your condition is one
  that you know is going to come up it’s probably
  a good idea to take the bull by the horns and
  maintain control of the information flow and
  disclose it as soon as possible.”
             *Nancy Starnes, NOD, Director of External Affairs

• Judgment call/personal decision
• Paint picture of who you are
  – Disability is only a part of who you are
ADA - Rules Change During Employment
1. Applying for a job
  – Employer limited at interview
  – Focus of questions on the ability to do the job
2. Employer makes a job offer
  – Rules change
  – Must ask the same question to all
  – Must be consistent
  – Job offer withdrawn only with clear evidence
3. Offered job and begins job
  – Employer can ask questions related to disability if
    employee is struggling with getting the job done 14
Business and Budget

       Employer Incentives
• Budget is always a concern for
• Most aimed at non-state agencies
  with less than $1,000,000
  – Reported average return of $28.60 in
    benefits for every dollar invested in
  – Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC)
  – Small Business Tax Credit: IRS Code Section
    44, Disabled Access Credit                    16
Recognize Disability Fatigue

• Examine attitude/issues that may come
• Find support to help work through
• Present yourself as fresh and excited
• Be curious and maintain “I/Thou”

             Sell Yourself
• Coordinate your individual needs and
  the company objectives
• Focus on questions of essential function
  or ability to do the job
• Show how you can be part of a team
• Build trust/reassurance
• Be powerful about what you are saying

• Directly address issues
• Show that you can perform at same high
  quality level, but that you might get the
  job done differently
  – Give examples
• Give examples of other agencies who
  hire deaf workers
  – Have references available
• Remember employers are concerned
  about budget, safety, and inclusion
Julia Smith, Ph.D., LPC, CRC
Rehabilitation Counselor Education
   Western Oregon University
   Monmouth, Oregon 97361
         503-838-8744 (V)
      866-724-5141 (VP)

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    eligibility for Social Security benefits. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.
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