‘Do I Tell A Prospective Employer I’m Blind Before An Interview?’

A pair of sunglasses on a white desk next to a keyboard and mouse.Once I settled in after transferring colleges, I decided it was time to apply for a job. 

Despite some accessibility issues with the application, I was able to apply for a job I thought I was well qualified for. A week went by with no word, but I was so busy with schoolwork that week that I actually forgot about it.

I received a phone call the next week, but when I didn’t recognize the number that came up on the caller ID, I didn’t answer. I checked the voicemail they left me, though, and when I found it was from the place where I had recently applied, I immediately called them back.

The person on the phone told me that they got my voicemail and asked if I was still interested in the job. I said I was. They discussed the number of hours and where they were located.

While we conversed, I noticed they didn’t sound very pleasant, almost annoyed or bored like they didn’t actually want to be talking to me. But I ignored that, because I really did want this job. I went along with it, but I did secretly hope this wouldn’t be the person doing the interview.

After the interview was set up, I was overjoyed. I was also nervous, though, because there was a pressing issue that was nagging at me: Do I tell the employer that I’m blind? If I were to tell them, they’d know ahead of time and could think about accommodations, if there needed to be any. They could also jump to the conclusion that I was incapable of doing the job before even having met me. What to do?

Finding a job can be a problem for people who are blind or visually impaired. The American Federation of the Blind reports that 75 percent of the estimated 4 million adults in the U.S. who are blind or visually impaired are not in the labor force.

I had asked my boyfriend for his input, as well as a few of my friends that are also blind. I wanted to gain their perspective. They all said that ultimately, it was up to me. This didn’t help! For some reason, I wanted someone to tell me exactly what to do. When I told my parents about the interview, I asked them the same thing, and they gave me the same answer. So I finally decided on my own: I wasn’t going to tell them.

The day before the interview, I received a call from the same person saying a snowstorm was on the way. They’d already been informed that my university would be closing the next day, so we needed to reschedule the interview.

So, we rescheduled it for February 13th. That gave me four days to prepare, but also an extra four days to just wait. I’m not good at waiting.

Stay tuned for part two of Ali’s story, where she shares her interview experience!


Comments may not reflect Easterseals' policies or positions.

Please read our community guidelines when posting comments.

Leave a Reply