Interviewing Courtesies for Individuals with Disabilities
Persons Using Mobility Aids
- Make sure the interview location is accessible. Check on location of available disabled parking spaces, available ramps and elevators, and accessible restrooms, water fountains, and telephones.
- Enable people who use crutches, canes or wheelchairs to keep them within reach. Be aware that some wheelchair users may choose to transfer themselves out of their wheelchair into an office chair for the interview.
- When interviewing a person in a wheelchair, sit in a chair to place yourself at that person's eye level to facilitate conversation.
- Never touch or lean on a person's wheelchair. It is part of the body space that belongs to the person who uses it.
People with Vision Impairments
- When greeting a person with a vision impairment, always identify yourself and introduce anyone else who is present.
- Allow a person with a visual impairment to take your arm at or about the elbow. This will enable you to guide rather than propel or lead the person.
- When offering seating, provide verbal directions as to the location of the seat.
- When conversing in a group, give a verbal cue by always announcing the name of the person to whom you are speaking.
- Let the person know if you move or need to end the conversation.
- Never pet or distract a guide dog.
- If there will be written materials in the interview, find out before the interview if there is an alternative format the person would prefer such as large print, Braille, or tape recording.
People with Speech Impairments
- Allow time for the person to speak. Exercise patience rather than attempting to speak for the person or complete their sentences for them.
- Do not pretend to understand if you do not. Ask the person to repeat what you do not understand.
- Do not shout or raise your voice.
People who are Deaf or Hearing Impaired
- If the person lip-reads, look directly at them. Speak clearly at a normal pace. Do not exaggerate your lip movements or shout. Speak expressively because the person will rely on your facial expressions, gestures and body movements to understand you. Maintain eye contact.
- Place yourself facing the light source and keep your hands away from your mouth when speaking.
- Use a normal tone of voice. Only raise your voice if requested. Brief concise written notes may be helpful.
- Using a Sign Language Interpreter
- If an interpreter is present, the interpreter should be seated beside the interviewer, across from the interviewee.
- Speak to the interviewee, not to the interpreter and always maintain eye contact with the interviewee, not the interpreter.
- The interpreter will be at least a few words behind the speaker, so allow for the extra time before the interviewee begins to respond.
- Interpreters facilitate communication. They should not be consulted or regarded as a reference for the interviewee.
- To request Sign Language Interpreting Services for an interview, contact the Interpreter Coordinator at Disability Services, firstname.lastname@example.org. Phone 206-543-6450; 206-543-6452/TTY; 206-685-7264/Fax at least 10 working days prior to when services are required. You may ask the interviewee if he or she has a preferred interpreter, and provide this information to the Interpreter Coordinator when placing the request.