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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Is it wise to tell hiring managers you're deaf?

I wrote an article titled "What you should do and shouldn't do when applying for jobs" you may find on this blog site. Someone made a comment regarding the topic that made me take a step back and think. They said they did not want to waste their time and money for gas by driving to interview only to find hiring managers disappointed that they're deaf. I thought you may miss out on such good opportunities if you put down your deafness on your resume, but at the same time, they have made a good point about the time and money.

So, I decided to do a little experiment of my own. I sent an extraordinarily good resume to a company for a job posted on craigslist.com. They immediately contacted me the next day, asking for my phone number so they could interview me on the phone. I emailed them back right away, thanked them for contacting me for the job and asked them if they would be comfortable working with hard of hearing professionals like me. Guess what? I haven't heard back from them in two months.

Well, that is the story of my experiment. It's clear that they aren't interested in hard of hearing professionals, and I didn't even say I was deaf but just hard of hearing. If I hadn't told them I was hard of hearing, they would have invited me for interview, but then they would have been disappointed if they had met me in person. Waste of time, right? Now, we know. It's completely up to you if you prefer to put down your deafness on your cover letter or resume to save your time or keep your information to yourself until after they invite you to job interview.

What are your thoughts on this?

Thanks for the reading!

https://www.facebook.com/DeafUnemployment

21 comments:

  1. Use an interpreter at the interview?

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  2. To be honest we are going to look pretty silly if we don't ! I tried it, and apart from being threatened with a fraud case by a prospective employer (!), I had no idea what questions were being asked of me. It is illegal NOT to declare your issue. Just what does 'bluffing your way through' actually achieve ? Of course declaring your loss at day one means your resume' will get binned.

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    1. Hmm, that makes sense. I didn't know deaf people are required to let employers know of their deafness in UK. Wow!

      Here in USA, we don't have to tell them if we don't want to, but still, it doesn't make any difference.

      Delete
  3. Very interesting! :-)
    I just had an interview three weeks ago and they asked me for references (names of co-workers). My co-workers informed me that the interview person asked them how communication is conducted in the workplace with me... Apparently, they were wondering how it would work with me, despite the fact that I had incorporated these information in the interview! Hummmm... Double-edge sword, eh? (and no, I was not invited back for a second interview - darn.)

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    1. I find it interesting that communication is the biggest issue in employment for deaf people, especially if a job doesn't require talking on telephone or to customers.

      Extremely frustrating, isn't it?

      Delete
  4. I never tell hiring managers.

    I'd rather show up and "practice" my interview skills if the employer won't hire me anyway.

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  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  6. "I don't hear on the phone too well" worked best for me.

    The word "deaf" scares MOST people away. However "hearing impaired" scares SOME people away.

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  7. From my experience, there was an employer didn't know I was Deaf when I got called for an interview through email. They found out that I am deaf during the interview, but it went well. I believe that had they known I was Deaf, I wouldn't get that interview. Seeing me as a person in person was the best way to go. Why give them first impression of me as a Deaf person and allow them think of issues that may negatively affect the chance of giving me an interview?

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    1. That's true also. I was thinking the same way when I decided not to put down my deafness on job applications.

      One quick question to ask, were you able to speak with them? In my experience, they always seemed more comfortable if I just spoke with them.

      Thanks for the comment!

      Delete
  8. I have an implant and have good communication skills to the point that most people don't know I'm deaf until they see the processor. I've used that to my advantage in interviews and never even mentioned my hearing loss until well after I've been hired and worked a few days on the job. In my previous job, my deafness was never even bought up in my entire time being employed. My coworkers and bosses seemed to just pick up that they had to speak a little louder while directly facing me.

    My current job is a bit of an issue though. I was hired and a few weeks in, I mentioned something about the processor and the questions came pouring out from my bosses. They were legitimately interested about some of the issues that I face being deaf and what they can do to make sure I hear everything. The problem is I work in a very high stress environment in the fashion industry and orders are often made out in passing. That and the fact that it is in a loft style space with no insulation makes it very difficult to catch everything. So while I have had quite a few conversations with my employers about being deaf, they do become visibly frustrated sometimes when I don't hear them or get something wrong because I misheard something.

    One of my bosses mentioned a few months ago that she thinks I should mention in future job interviews that I'm deaf. I absolutely understand the need for full disclosure but I never want that issue to get in the way of a pretty good resume. In this economy I'm afraid to risk any sort of job placement because of my hearing.

    I just hope my future employers will be wise enough to know that being deaf has nothing to do with my intellectual ability.

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    1. I just find it interesting that one who is able to have good verbal communication skills and hear well with cochlear implant, and yet it's still a big issue for employers. As you have mentioned in your comment section, bosses are really frustrated with and tired of having to repeat what they said to deaf employees. I think it's one of the reasons hiring employers tend to avoid dealing with deaf applicants.

      I do not think hearing impairment needs to be listed on a resume, which should be only about skills and qualifications. Still, it's hard to hide it because they are going to know the truth one way or another.

      I guess it's all about individuality.

      Thanks for sharing your experience with us!

      STerras

      Delete
  9. I mention that I have a hearing impairment in my cover letters, and down-play it by saying, "I have never had any issues, and if I do happen to mishear something, my professional yet bubbly approach to my impairment ensures that I am receiving or relaying full instructions and ensuring the client is satisfied".

    I mention that my impairment encourages me to think outside the box and that because I am more likely to ask questions and confirm instructions, I often come up with innovative ideas or cover areas which had been overlooked. This no doubt benefits my employer, the team and myself!

    I get a lot of positive feedback, but when jobs are tough, like right now in Australian mining, I find I'm not as lucky.

    We're not stupid people. I agree, we need to find something we are passionate about and pursue that line with determination! There are a lot of people who do not understand what it means to be hearing impaired or deaf, and employers think "Why would we go with a hard of hearing person when there are 50 other candidates who have the same qualifications and can hear?". We've got to sell ourselves on our CVs and Cover letters, and this is where we become builders... we've got to work a little bit harder at school, university, college, etc. Get teachers to help us if we miss things. Source out every single opportunity we can grab, and apply ourselves 150%! If we do this, and reflect this in our cover letters, we should be 'outstanding' candidates. Our hearing should show employers that we are committed, driven and determined. Passionate about our chosen fields and willing to go that step further to achieve success. If they still do not choose us... they're stupid!!!

    :) Stay positive always!

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    1. Thank you so much for your positive and encouraging feedback. It's very helpful.

      Delete
  10. Not wasted foolishness wrote "deaf" on resume" always HR notice the "deaf" on resume to throw away you knew that?

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  11. I never ever put any reference to having a disability in my CV, removing it actually got me more interview (despite being asked for a phone interview where they discovered that I can't do it).

    I still get ignored/told it wouldn't work, but it's better than outrightly telling them you're deaf on the off chance they will invited you and realised you're capable during the interview.

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  12. Hello,

    I never mention I'm deaf in my resume ever. I put impressive information such as my experience, education and an introduction essay about myself. I use my wife or a family member phone number for contact information but I prefer email contact. I have zero oral communication skills so if this job requires a lot of oral communication then I won't want to waste my time and their times to try applying for the job. When I get a response back for the job, I would tell them I am deaf but try to impress them that I can do the job if they give me the chance. If they don't then they are wasting my time. I rather work in friendly enivorment than being frustrated with the managements or human resources dept. I don't think driving far for an Interview is waste of my money. I don't want to miss out on any opportunity. I never had an interpreter for my interview. I just show them how I would communicate with other employments as same way i communicate with the interviewee. They have to adapt to me as I would adapt to them. It have to be both sides not just one side. I work hard in hearing college to obtain my degree. I stay positive and there always is a job for someone if you don't stop trying. Sometime employer see that and will want to hire that person.

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  13. Hey - there is a great new app for the deaf and hard of hearing called InnoCaption. You download it on your smart phone and it provides real time captions. And, they use live stenographers so the accuracy is great as well. You can go to www.innocaption.com and register, then download the app. The registration is free, the app is free and it is free to use - you just have to have a smart phone. :-)

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  14. Tks very much for your post.

    Avoid surprises — interviews need preparation. Some questions come up time and time again — usually about you, your experience and the job itself. We've gathered together the most common questions so you can get your preparation off to a flying start.

    You also find all interview questions at link at the end of this post.

    Source: Download Ebook: Ultimate Guide To Job Interview Questions Answers:

    Best rgs

    ReplyDelete