Hiring the right person for the job always starts with preparing for and conducting a good interview. The person you will be meeting brings skills and abilities to the interview, and wants a fair and equitable opportunity to present his or her job qualifications.
Before you begin the employment interview, it may be helpful to remember that the employment candidate may be attending his or her first job interview or may be afraid of making a “good impression”. This may be true of many people you interview for positions in your business.
Below are some suggestions for conducting good employment interviews for people with intellectual disabilities:
- Use plain language. Usually, this means avoiding big words and long sentences. Listen carefully to the person’s own words and length of sentences. Be prepared to repeat or rephrase questions if the person does not appear to understand. Try not to get frustrated if the person does not understand you at first, or takes more time than usual to answer questions
- Remember that people with intellectual disabilities may have more difficulty giving answers to questions. Sometimes, people will not interview well. This does not mean that they will not be good and valued workers.
- If necessary or appropriate, give the person a chance to demonstrate the skills he or she has. This may be particular helpful if a person does not speak very well. A person may also feel more confident showing what he or she can do, as opposed to talking about it.
- Try to avoid making assumptions about you think that the person can or cannot do. Also, try to find out what accommodations the person may require to do the job.
Often, employment specialists associated with local employment agencies can help with the interview process. This may include information or suggestions on the preparation and delivery of interview questions as well as some insight on the job applicant’s needs for workplace accommodations. Sometimes, an employment specialist may accompany the job candidate to help facilitate the job interview.