Coronavirus: information and updates

Mentioning disability in your application

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 do not need to focus on your condition in your application form. Unless you want to, you do not 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, the interviewer usually does not see equal opportunities and monitoring forms.

Getting 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 cannot 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 to complete assessments

If the application form does not ask if you need adjustments, wait until you are offered an interview. Then, you can talk about your impairment and ask for adjustments.

Asking for adjustments at interview

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.

Disability-friendly employers 

Transferable 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.

Writing cover letters

Cover letter examples

Writing a CV

Talking about your condition after you apply

If you 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.

Anyone can ask for flexible working. But your employer is more likely to say yes if it’s a reasonable adjustment that would allow you to work.

If a job is advertised as full-time, you can ask for part-time or flexible working. Make sure that you have a job offer in writing before you ask. A letter or an email is fine. This will allow you to ask for reasonable adjustments.

Flexible and part-time working

Reasonable adjustments at work

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

Disability discrimination at work

Explaining employment gaps due to disability

If you have had time off to manage your condition, you might have gaps in employment. This is something they could ask you about at an interview.

Knowing how you will explain gaps in employment can help. You can do this by keeping it simple and only share the information you want to.

Having time off work to manage your condition is not a weakness. You might have learnt transferable skills or know the reasonable adjustments that work for you.

Choosing not to answer the question

If you do not need adjustments at interview, and the question is not directly related to the work that you'd be doing, 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 law.

Equality Act 2010 (GOV.UK)

Last reviewed by Scope on: 18/05/2021

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