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The Positive Interviewing Strategy:

Increase Success in Identifying High Potential Jobseekers with Disabilities

The process of interviewing jobseekers has a simple goal: Identify the jobseeker with the highest potential for success. The interviewer’s objective is to engage each candidate in such a way that he or she can accurately judge the jobseeker’s likelihood of success in the both the job itself and within organization. The cost of not getting this right? Substantial. Poor hiring decisions lead to poor performance, lower productivity, higher risk and ultimately, higher turnover. Employee turnover costs on average 21% of the separated employees’ annual wage[1]. So, for decision makers, at all levels of an organization, positive interviewing skills should be a priority.

Interviewing jobseekers with disabilities can present some unique challenges to interviewers in determining a candidate’s potential for success since certain disabilities can affect a jobseeker’s communication style and communication ability.

For example, a job seeker with a learning disability or a seizure disorder may have a challenge in receiving information (input), while someone with autism, a traumatic brain injury or an intellectual disability will have challenges in understanding or comprehension (process). A jobseeker with speech or language impairment or cerebral palsy may have difficulty responding accurately (output).


By understanding the “mechanics” of communication — input, process, output — and recognizing those disabilities that may present challenges at a particular stage, the interviewer and the jobseeker can often — and easily — overcome that challenge so that the content or substance of the communication comes through. Put another way, I was driving in traffic the other day with the windows down, enjoying the early autumn air, when my favorite song came on the radio. I couldn’t hear it that well given the ambient traffic noise, so what did I do? Turned up the volume!

Now conducting a positive interview with a jobseeker not a simple a task as cranking up the volume on your radio, but identifying and reducing communication barriers (the mechanics) can increase the chance of successfully engaging jobseekers with disabilities in the interview process and enable you and the jobseeker to focus on what’s important — Can this candidate be successful in this job?

Communication in an interview is inherently “social.” It requires sending — and receiving — information.  My colleague, Julie Cook (read her blog here) and I recently published a white paper titled, The Positive Interviewing Strategy. It is available on this website and provides some helpful tips for identifying high potential jobseekers with disabilities.

The Disability Solutions Training Advantage

Disability Solutions is the consulting service of Ability Beyond focused on helping corporations tap new channels for qualified talent, manage culture change, leverage federal and state hiring incentives, respond to a changing regulatory environment, and strengthen their workforce through diversity. We deliver custom solutions in recruiting, talent management, compliance and training.

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Additional Info:

Chris-SimlerAbout Chris: Chris is a senior strategist and disability outreach consultant who has consulted on both local and national disability and diversity initiatives. His clients have included OfficeMax, Walgreens, Electronic Arts, TJ Maxx and Rising Tide. Christopher has designed national training programs to enhance the talent life cycle and create depth within hiring initiatives.

LinkedIn: Chris Simler

Email:  Christopher.Simler@AbilityBeyond.org

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