Interviewing Successfully

Blind man shaking hands with potential employer at job fair.

So you landed an interview, congratulations! Before the big day, take a moment to re-familiarize yourself with the job description and everything you found out about the company’s products or service. Be sure to get a good night’s sleep and groom yourself well the day of the interview – go easy on the perfume or aftershave and pick an outfit that’s appropriate for the work environment, but a bit more formal than daily wear. Make arrangements to arrive about 10-15 minutes early so that you have time to find the appropriate office and greet the receptionist or HR representative.

Follow these tips to have a successful interview:

  1. Make a positive first impression. Smile, shake hands with your interviewer, greet them by name, introduce yourself and express your pleasure in being selected for an interview. Keep your head up (chin parallel to the floor), shoulders back and tummy tucked in so you look your best.
  2. Introduce yourself. Be prepared to tell the interviewer a little bit about yourself: no more than 30 seconds about you and your family or connection to the community, approximately one minute about your work and educational experience, and a short explanation of how your goals dovetail with the company’s goals.
  3. Explain your qualifications. Listen carefully to the interviewer’s questions and respond with facts and examples of your accomplishments whenever possible. Be prepared to share at least three good reasons about why you’d be the best candidate for the job!
  4. Ask thoughtful questions. Have at least one job-related question that you can ask – but try not to ask about pay, vacation accrual, or anything that focuses on what you want in terms of benefits!
  5. Disclose your disability. Prepare a disability statement that gives a little bit of information about what you can see or how you compensate for not being able to see, but mostly focus on your abilities and capacity to do the job. Explain how you may accomplish tasks differently than fully sighted workers, but can do so competitively.
  6. Finish strong. When the interview is over, thank the interviewer and find out when you may hear from him or her about the position. Ask if you may call or email to learn the outcome of your interview. Reaffirm your interest in the company and eagerness to join the team!

Remember, your work doesn’t end at the close of the interview! Be pleasant and engage anyone else in the company as you are leaving. If you haven’t heard anything about the employer’s decision by the time specified, follow up by telephone or email to let them know that you are still available, interested and eager to do the job! If you’re told that you weren’t chosen for the position, ask if the company keeps an active file of qualified candidates or if they would like you to resubmit your application for comparable positions that are open.