Here at Cutting Edge, we treat clients all the way up to young adulthood. For our young adults, we work on pre-vocational skills and employability issues. Often this means we talk about the interview process, and important tips that interviewees should know about the process. Here are some general tips we teach our clients to get them ready for interviews:
1. Eye contact.
We talk a lot about eye contact. We teach our young adults how to look directly at the interviewer, and not off to the side, especially if they are interviewing for any kind of retail or customer service job. This is a challenge for many of our clients on the spectrum. Sometimes we tell them to just focus on a particular spot on the interviewer’s face—as long as they’re looking at the face! If eye contact is too much of a struggle, we encourage them to talk to their interviewer about it. They can tell the interviewer that eye contact is a challenge for them, but that they will do the best job they can.
2. Bring a resume.
We also coach our young adults to bring a resume with them to the interview, even if they have sent one in previously. This could be an extra copy of the resume, or it could be an updated version if they have added items to the resume since it was submitted. It’s nice when a prospective employee brings a copy of their resume to the interview, and interviewers will appreciate their preparedness.
3. Decide what to share.
When our young adults are interviewing for a job, they do not have to talk about their disability. That is entirely a personal choice. Sometimes it will be important to share certain things, especially about physical limitations and accessibility issues. For example, if job duties require the employee to sit in a certain area and our client is in a wheelchair, that’s an important accessibility issue and one they should discuss. When it comes to cognitive, sensory, or attention issues, however, it is entirely a personal choice to share that information or not.
The best way to prepare for an interview is to practice! We do a lot of mock interviewing here, and we always recommend that our clients find someone who is willing to sit down with them and practice interviewing. We also practice writing resumes and deciding what kind of information is relevant to include. Practice makes perfect!
Your Next Step
These are some general tips for things to consider when going for an interview. If you have any questions, give us a call! We have many great ideas about how to prepare our clients for interviews and employment!