Job interviews are usually the most intimidating and stressful experience for everyone who has ever attended one, but it is one of the best opportunities to make an impression on your employer and also stand out among other applicants.
For candidates with disabilities it is very important to prepare for the job interviews as the competition with non-disabled candidates who also might have better qualification will be fierce. Preparing for an interview helps to memorize everything you have learnt, it eases your anxiety and gives you confidence. Thorough preparation is a must to gain success in any interview.
- Before applying for a job interview it is very important to understand what domain or field interests in accordance with your qualifications. Try and develop the set of skills that are required to obtain the aspired job.
- Most of the company’s HR’s choose who to interview based on their resumes. Resume is nothing but a summary of who you are, your skills, your qualifications, your past and present work experiences. A resume should always be neat, precise and to the point, and written according to the field you are apply for. It is very important to keep your resume well updated.
- Before the job interview it is very important to research the companies background and learn what their company stands for and their future goals. If required you should be ready to talk about the functioning of the company in depth and about the position you are applying for. The company’s website, annual reports or news articles regarding them can be used to do research in detail.
- Prepare answers for the expected question from the interviewers like – “What is your goal in life?”, “Where do you see yourself after the next 5 years?”, “Tell me something about yourself?”, “Why do you want to work for our company?”, “How do you think you are suitable for this position?” Also prepare for the questions which might be asked according to the domain, your qualifications and your work experiences.
- Prepare to answer the questions with confidence by practicing it with a friend or a family member. These mock interviews might help to understand how your answers sound and how to improve them. You can also get feedback from your friends on how to improve your answers.
- On the interview day dress in your best formals, be punctual and arrive in your best condition. Be courteous towards everyone during the interview, and keep your answers honest, short and to the point.
- If you have any questions to the interviewer regarding the job location, salary etc, ask them in the end of the interview in a polite manner, and shake hands confidently with your interviewer before leaving.
Sudhanya is an Intern from Christ University Bangalore, interning at EnAble India in April/May 2014. From a media studies, communication background. She is working with EnAble India providing social media assistance in-order to reach a wider audience.
Misconceptions are barriers that interfere with the ability of people with disabilities to have equality in employment. Lack of awareness promotes negative attitudes concerning employment of people with disabilities. Some of these common stereotypes and misconceptions which are floating in our society must change:
Misconception: People with disability need our sympathy and pity
Truth: Frequently we find society perceiving disability as a tragedy such that persons with disability fall into the pit of sympathy. It is important to understand that sympathy & pity is something which will break an individual’s confidence to be independent & self-reliant. Motivating people with disability will encourage them to face any challenges in life and to follow their dreams.
Misconception: Disability is a sickness
Truth: The word ‘disability’ itself is often attached to negative stigma of an incapability to do something. The question is can disability be labeled as a sickness? Can disability be labeled as incapability or lack of ability? If that is true, then how did people like Beethoven create the most beautiful symphonies, even though he couldn’t hear any of his own music? How then did Helen Keller describe the beauty of the world and the lovely music of nature, without seeing or hearing? If Beethoven and Helen Keller can do beyond the impossible, then disability as such cannot be labeled as a kind of sickness but a challenge to achieve.
Misconception: People with disability are special
Truth: Frequently we see that people with disability are called special or being different. It is important to understand how we would term the word ‘disability’. Being disabled does not stop anyone from doing certain things, though it’s true that things are done differently. Does doing things differently mean being special or being unique?
Misconception: People with disability need our protection
Truth: There is nothing wrong in being protective and concerned for anyone. It only becomes a problem when we get over-protective. This would obstruct anyone’s opportunity to do things on their own & to be self-reliant.
Misconception: People with disability are super-heroes
Truth: Often, disability is seen as a tragedy of life and surviving is a great inspiration. It is important to understand that everyone is the superhero of his/her own life. By facing all the obstacles in life, we make our own life an inspirational story.
Misconception: People with disability always need to be dependent on others
Truth: Everyone is dependent on each other, in some way or the other. It’s human nature that no one can be alone. Though it may be true that there are some people with disability who are dependent on others, it is not necessary to stereotype every person with disability as always being dependent on others. As many people with disability are also able to live independently.
Misconception: It’s easy to accidentally offend a person with disability when speaking to him
Truth: It’s important that we be polite while talking to anyone and, to ensure that we are not rude to anyone.
Misconception: People in wheelchairs have restricted mobility
Truth: Today’s highly mobile world, where we use different kinds of transportation like cars, bikes, buses, trains, etc. to reach anywhere, has almost made us forget that we can walk to places. Can the mere existence of legs be termed as being mobile? Hence, being on a wheelchair can never be termed completely as restricted mobility. Mobility is only restricted by the barriers we place in front of people
Misconception: People with disability only socialize with other people with disability
Truth: It’s true that everyone likes to be with people who share similar characteristics. But it doesn’t mean that people with disabilities restrict their company only with other people with disability. Most people with disability have family and friends who are not disabled.
Misconception: People with disability have no sense of humor
Truth: Sense of humor merely means the ability to appreciate humor. Everyone likes to be comical and people with disability are no different. Hence, sense of humor is not something restricted to a few people.
These are just a few of the misconceptions we have about people with disability. It’s important that we give a thought about how disability is being portrayed in the society, before having assumptions about it.
(The views and opinions expressed above do not necessarily reflect that of EnAble India.)
I joined Enable India in April 2011. I started with volunteering, just going through whatever was on the server. It introduced me to Enable India right from the days of its inception. What wonderful work done by Madam Shanti Raghavan and later continued with the efforts of Mr. Dipesh Sutariya and supported by the earliest student and now a senior staff member Ms. Vidya Rao.
At the time of my joining Enable India I was in a discussion with State Bank of India on inclusion of persons with disabilities enrolled by them and never truly employed. State Bank of India is a huge bank, a company to the Govt of India holding the treasury and thus is an important financial structure in the banking fraternity of modern India. As a result of reservation of one per cent posts for persons with disability this and other banks have been enrolling persons with disability on the rolls of the bank. Just because the Banks believe that the persons with disability cannot work in a bank the thus enrolled work force remains without work, non-remunerative. State Bank of India requested Enable India to find out the possibilities of engaging this work force in the banking main stream. Enable India had already before my joining given a formal consent to State Bank of India and had undertaken to work in the area of finding a solution. Thus the team Murali consisting of Murali Kumar and Shiva started working on inclusion of the persons employed by State Bank of India.It was wonderful for me to understand the subject of Human Resources in Banks from disability point of view. The concept of Job Analysis, profiling the employees and customising and designing work processes for them was challenging but of course satisfying.
After an initial analysis of jobs we identified some 19 roles that we said will be performed by the persons with disabilities in state bank of India. We put up a proposal to State Bank of India for piloting the training programme aimed at converting this non-remunerative work force in to a remunerative one. State Bank of India accepted the proposal and thus started the first training with a batch of 20 Visually impaired persons at State Bank Learning Centre at Baswanguddi Bangalore.
The successful completion of this training opened up the possibilities of continuing with the programmes and even training the State Bank trainers for conducting such trainings on their own. Thus, Enable India did a capacity building training programme in the shape of a “training the trainers” programme. State Bank of India has partnered with Enable India in a number of batches being trained under the process. The employees who were thought to be non-remunerative are performing human resource as on today working and managing the HAPPY ROOM (Complaint Cell), ASSET TRACKING CELLS, PASS BOOK PRINTING, GRAHAK MIRTRA SEAT, RECIEPT AND PAYMENTS (LOW VISION PERSONS) and many other seats in the branch and administrative offices. As of today we have proposed to open a centre of Excellence in Banking for State Bank of India which will look after training and employment in respect of persons with disability aiming at being a world class facility in this area.
On 26th April 2014 Enable India entered in to an agreement with three RSETTI institutions of State Bank of India for providing training to persons with disability looking for wage employment and self employment. The agreement was exchanged by Ms. Shanti Raghavan in presence of an august gathering of senior bankers at State Bank of India led by their chairperson Madam Arundhati Bhattacharya . On the occasion two publications of Enable India namely GET INSPIRED –WORKING PROFESSIONALS WITH DISABILITY, BE AN ETHICAL WORKING PROFESSIONAL WITH DISABILITY.
THANK YOU SBI. I AM FEELING PROUD OF INDIAN BANKS.
At EnAble India we believe in possibilities!
Every disabled person can add value to their community, workplace & family. Technology allows us to make more and more workplaces accessible for people with disabilities. Changes in the last few years have opened up lots of job roles for people with disabilities
- Screen reader – Screen readers such as JAWS, NVDA & Voice-over (MAC) allow the visually impaired to work on most applications, navigating all the important business tools such as the Microsoft office suite (Word, Excel & PowerPoint). EnAble India has trained hundreds of visually impaired candidates in using screen readers, allowing them to go on to employment in companies such as IBM, Thomson Reuters & DeutscheBank. EnAble India has created a dual sided headset, enabling visually impaired workers to use the same headset for listening to screen readers & answering the phone.
- Speech recognition – For people who cannot use their hands, speech recognition software enables people to give instructions to the computer with their voice – It can open programs, create emails, copy and paste, data entry, everything you can normally do. This technology is ideal for people who cannot use their hands on the keyboard. The speech recognition software that comes standard with windows software allows for a speech profile to be created, the software will learn the users’ speech pattern the more it is used. This software is a “game-changer” for people with physical disabilities with limited or no mobility in their hands and arms as well as people with cerebral palsy.
- Currency reader – EnAble India has created a device that reads out the value of notes, it allows visually impaired people to handle currency transactions. This opens up a huge array of jobs that have cash transactions involved. Previously, visually impaired candidates have been excluded from roles where there has been some element of handling cash. With the currency reader, the visually impaired can understand how much cash is being handled.
- Camera mouse. This software uses built-in cameras to track the user’s eye movements, allowing the user to move the cursor and click by blinking. A game changer for people with physical disabilities and peoplewith severe disabilities.
- Customized keyboards and mouse – Allows people with physically disabilities and people with Cerebral Palsy to use keyboards and mouse more easily and with greater accuracy. The keyboards & mouse are adjusted in size and shape to make it easier to manage. Depending on the nature of the disability, some candidates are able to perform at levels similar to, or better, than their non-disabled colleagues.
Happy International Women’s Day! We at EnAble India wish to celebrate the spirit of an independent Indian woman with the story of Haseena, a woman with amazing courage, confidence and compassion.
At the age of 21, Haseena became a victim of an acid attack and this attack caused her to lose her vision completely. For 10 years, she had to undergo 35 surgeries to reconstruct her face and body and she underwent immense counselling to help her get over the trauma. She was in and out of hospitals and never stepped out of her home to go anywhere else. She was not in touch with the outside world.
At Enable India, Haseena found hope. Her initial days were a trying time for both the trainers and herself. Coming out of her home was a culture shock. Because of the amount of time spent in the hospitals, she never got the opportunity to meet and mingle with people. Her world was black and white. She expected perfect behaviour from everyone she met, with no room for disappointment. We were worried about her job since every job requires interaction and team work. We wanted her to have a full life with friends and family. We believed in her potential. With the love and support of the Enable India trainers, she came out of her shell and learnt to mingle with others and made several friends. One of her first outings was to a park and she even joined the excursion to Nandi Hills with her family and friends. With EnAble India’s encouragement, she learnt to enjoy life and realised even “Haseena can smile”. What changed her life was voluntary work where she had to collect clothes for flood victims where she had to reach out to other people. Volunteering helped her to reconnect with her relatives and friends, with whom she hadn’t spoken to for a long time. The trainers recall when she had to do her presentation in front of a crowd regarding her volunteer work. It was an emotional moment because we had never seen her speak in front of an audience.
The Haseena of today, has become fully confident and independent. In her words, she is not a victim.
She is now working as a stenographer in a government department. She applied for a government job and using assistive technology, she proved to the officials that she could be a productive resource to the government sector.
After losing her vision, Haseena had been scared to walk alone. Her mother had to take her everywhere. During the initial training days, she used to arrive by auto because she was afraid to travel by public transport. With the mobility training, she is now independent and walks to her office all by herself.
Haseena’s tremendous courage had touched the lives of a lot of people. She has earned the respect of her community. She counsels many people who are in depression and has helped many others in need. She has even successfully counselled people with suicidal tendencies. She is actively working towards empowerment of acid attack victims. To prove that she too can lead the same life as others, she does her daily activities independently. She cooks, hangs out with friends, supports her family, fights for justice, and is the role model of a truly independent woman with dignity.
See the article about Haseena in the Hindu: http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/with-sheer-grit-haseena-moves-on/article5761533.ece
When I joined Enable India, I was confident I would learn how to write to a varied audience. Coming from a technical writing background, the ground rule was one: Understand the audience. In Enable India the audience can be categorized broadly into Visually Impaired, Hearing Impaired and Physically Disabled. There are more categories. Candidates or trainers who use our training material come from varied backgrounds. Some come from rural areas, some from semi-rural areas, and few from urban areas. Most understand only Basic English.
8 Tips to help with inclusive writing:
1. Right from the start one thing was clear: use simple English. Use simple verbs. For example- “show” instead of “express” or “articulate”. This also works for the hearing impaired since simple verbs are easy to express through sign language.
2. Use simple present tense, short sentences. For example- The wrong sentence would be: “Navigating using the short cut keys in MS Word will be saving a lot of time for the candidates.” The correct sentences: “In MS Word, candidates should use short cut keys. This helps them save time during navigation.”
3. Only one action or task in a sentence. Example: Wrong sentence: “Pressing Alt +N will close the window and take the focus out of the application and onto the open folder.” The correct sentences: “Press Alt+N to close the window and exit the application. This takes the focus to the open folder.”
4. Avoid a lot of white space in a document. It is very frustrating for the Visually impaired to keep hearing the screen reader announcing “blank blank blank ….“
5. Using captions for images so that our VI friends get an idea about what the image is about. I remember the first time I removed a line that described a photo in our newsletter! So non-inclusive that was!
6. Using appropriate text to announce a link or an answer. For example: Click on this link for more details. “Answer”: To save a Word document press Ctrl + S.
7. In MS PowerPoint, minimize using graphic shapes. Screen readers do not read text boxes inside some graphic shapes in the order they are displayed, even arrows are read as graphics! So that makes it very Visually Impaired unfriendly. Use title place holder, sub title place holder, object place holder instead.
8. One important change I had to do was to use “Press” instead of “click”. Clicking is more for mouse users. Visually impaired computer users use only the keyboard, so it is always pressing the keys for them
☺ Simple short sentences works for everyone across the globe, does it not? Fully inclusive ☺ There are many more, but will stop here. The learning continues……