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Interviewing candidates

Many candidates who are visually impaired never get as far as the interview because of barriers in the job search process.

A young girl going through an interview.

What is it like to interview a job candidate with blindness or visual impairment? Are there things you shouldn’t say? What kind of behavior is the candidate expecting from you?

Keep these points in mind during the interview, and remember — a person who is blind or visually impaired is, before anything else, a person.

  • Don’t ask about the disability/diagnosis. Can you perform all the required job functions, tasks, and/or duties listed here, with or without accommodation? How would you perform the task(s) and with what accommodation(s)?
  • Operate under the presumption that the visually impaired person can do the job until they prove otherwise.
  • Create a welcoming environment for disclosure. State your company’s commitment to hiring people of all backgrounds and abilities during the interview process.
  • Use people first language (blind person vs. a person who is blind or a person with a visual impairment)
  • Always identify yourself and introduce who is present
  • There is a wide range of visual impairments; some people may navigate using a cane or a dog, while others may have enough usable vision to navigate independently. Offer to give the candidate sighted guide (the person with a visual impairment will hold right above your elbow) and give verbal queues and directions.

So what can you do to attract more candidates with blindness or visual impairment to your search? Consider these interview tips for employers to expand a job posting’s reach.

Interview tips for employers

1. Look beyond employee referrals — referrals are a trusted source of candidates, but they may inhibit diversity.

2. State your commitment to inclusion on your company’s career website.

3. Work with local and state agencies to source candidates with disabilities.

4. Expand your job posting presence beyond the mainstream channels — try out a diversity-focused job board.

5. Loosen restrictions on your applicant tracking systems — are you screening out candidates for unnecessary qualifications like driver’s licenses?

Infographic: An interview is a necessary part of getting hired, but many candidates who are visually impaired never get that far because of barriers in the job-search process. Here are five ways to remove obstacles that keep talented professionals from competing for the job they deserve. 1. Driver’s License Don’t require documents that applicants who are blind won’t have. Use alternative methods to verify identity or legal employment status. 2. Job Fair Embrace the opportunity at job fairs to find applicants with disabilities who are qualified, dedicated and eager to work. 3. Websites Make your career website accessible to everyone by removing barriers like confusing navigation, inflexible font sizes, information identified only by color and more. 4. Disclosure Make it easy and comfortable for applicants to divulge a disability. Make it clear that your company welcomes employees with differing abilities and backgrounds. 5. Lack of Training Train hiring managers, especially ones with no previous experience working with people who are blind, to appreciate the skills and capabilities of every applicant.

A tall man in a suit using his cane at a career event.

Workplace accommodations