Maximise Employee Opportunities

How to Maximise Your Employment Opportunities

It’s tricky getting interviews and landing jobs at the best of times; add a disability to the equation and it becomes even more challenging. There are laws against discrimination in the work place, but those who are deaf or hard of hearing still come up against barriers that prevent equal opportunities and equal treatment from employers and other employees.

Consider the findings of a survey by Total jobs:

1 in 4 (25%) of deaf and hard of hearing people feel they have no option but to resign their jobs because of discrimination. This is partly due to the fact that employers don’t take any action to accommodate their needs.
65% say that technological advancements have smoothed the way for deaf and hard of hearing people in the work place
While 13% say there is sufficient support during job seeking and employment, 72% say they haven’t had any support navigating the employment market.
Discrimination breaks down like this:
62% from colleagues
53% from management
37% during a job interview

This helps explain why 19% have kept their deafness from employers.

There are steps you can take to overcome the challenges and maximise your opportunities to secure employment.

Make your CV shine

Tailor your CV for each job application. It shows that you have done some research on the company and that your skills are absolutely relevant to the role.

Think about whether or not you’re going to be upfront about your deafness.

The honesty policy means prospective employers know what to expect when you arrive for your interview and allows them to prepare the meeting room.

On the other hand, there are valid concerns that, despite being the ideal candidate for the job, disclosing your deafness might ensure you never reach the interview stage.

Weigh the pros and cons for your situation and make the decision that is best for you.

Ace the interview

Most of the resources listed above have tips on how to ace job interviews. Remember that you’re showing the best version of yourself. Wear clothes that are smart and comfortable – you don’t want to be fidgeting throughout the interview.

It doesn’t matter how you feel on the inside, on the outside you need to smile and project confidence. There is something to be said for ‘fake it ‘til you make it’.

Optimise the working environment

Your employer is obligated to make the workplace as user-friendly for you as possible. You will need to tell them what equipment is necessary and what services you might need in certain circumstances, for example, a BSL interpreter for meetings and conferences.

Don’t be afraid to ask for additional support if, after working at the company for a while, you find you overlooked some challenging areas.

By law

The Equalities Act 2010 protects those with disabilities or conditions from discrimination and unfair treatment in the workplace. According to the Act, employers must make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to enable you to work to your full potential. These include flexible working hours and providing equipment that ensures you are not at a ‘substantial disadvantage’.

Note: Give your employer the chance to make reasonable adjustments before you turn to Access to Work.

Access to Work (AtW)

Access to Work is a government-funded scheme that ensures people with disabilities and health conditions aren’t discriminated against in the workplace. A large part of this is educating employers and employees. It also provides grants so that employers can make the necessary adaptations to ensure deaf people aren’t hampered as they go about their tasks.

AtW assists job-seekers, those currently employed, and those who are self-employed. It is only available in the UK.

Some of the specific services include:

Providing a note taker, communicator or BSL interpreter for meetings and job interviews
Providing specialist communication equipment, including hearing amplifiers, textphones, and conference microphones
Workplace training to ensure proper understanding of your needs and how to provide sufficient support

It’s your responsibility and not your employer’s to access AtW services. Find out more on the GOV.UK website.

For additional information you can visit the Royal Association for Deaf People (http://www.royaldeaf.org.uk/) or contact the organisation:

Phone: +44 300 688 2525

Email: info@royaldeaf.org.uk

You can also visit the British Deaf Association or contact the organisation:

Text: 07795 410 724

Email: bda@bda.org.uk