It’s up to you what information you share with an employer, and when. But you will need to talk about your condition if you need adjustments in your interview or for a test.
Your application should be about how your skills and experience make you the right person for the role. You don’t need to focus on your condition in your application form. Unless you want to, you don’t have to answer any questions about disability.
Including your condition might increase your chances of getting an interview or job offer if:
  • the employer wants to interview more disabled people
  • it’s relevant to the skills needed for the job.
If you want your employer to know that you’re disabled for a different reason, there are other times that you can talk with them. For example:
  • before your interview (if you want them to know before you meet)
  • once you’ve got a job offer (if you want to ask for adjustments or support at work).
Remember, information you put on equal opportunities and monitoring forms isn’t usually seen by the person who interviews you.

Get support in your interview or test

Some application forms will ask you if you need any adjustments in your interview. If you do, fill this in. Waiting until later may mean that the employer can’t provide the adjustment in time for your interview.
Be specific. Common examples include:
  • a British Sign Language interpreter
  • assistance if the test is on a computer (a larger screen, software, a person to read for you)
  • a verbal test rather than a written one
  • more time complete assessments
If the application form doesn’t ask if you need adjustments, wait until you are offered an interview. Then, you can talk about your impairment and ask for adjustments.

Employers who want to interview more disabled people

Some employers encourage disabled people to apply. Others guarantee an interview for people who meet the essential criteria for the job.

Transferrable skills

Your experiences as a disabled person could mean you have relevant skills, such as:
  • problem solving
  • time management
  • attention to detail
  • learning new ways of doing things.
A good place to explain this is in your cover letter or personal statement.

Talking about your condition after you apply

If you just want the employer to know that you're disabled before you meet, you can tell them once you're offered an interview.
You will find it easier to negotiate for adjustments at work once you have a written job offer.

Equal opportunities forms

Separate equal opportunities or monitoring forms may ask if you’re disabled. Some HR departments use these forms to monitor the characteristics of people applying for jobs. The person who interviews you may not see this form.

Disadvantages of ‘disclosing’ disability in your application

Disabled people are twice as likely to be unemployed as non-disabled people. If you say that you're disabled in your application:
  • you may be at increased risk of discrimination
  • the employer could focus on your condition instead of your skills and experience.

Choosing not to answer the question

If you don't need adjustments at interview, and the question is not directly related to the work that you'd be doing, then you do not need to say that you're disabled in your application.
You can choose not to answer questions about disability on your application form. Things can get complicated if you're filling in an online form where you must say if you're disabled or not. To avoid lying to the employer, you could answer 'no' on the form but then write a letter to HR explaining that such questions are not allowed under the Equality Act 2010.

Need employment advice?

Support for disabled people looking for a job, online, by phone, Skype or text message.

Employment information supported by Virgin Media

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We're working with Virgin Media to support 1 million disabled people in getting into and staying in work by the end of 2020.

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