Hidden Disabilities – Conceal or Reveal?

I was reading this article the other day, which addresses a common dilemma that applicants with “hidden impairments” face when job hunting.

I don’t believe there are any clear cut answers, other than “it depends”. My recommendation to disabled candidates is to only mention their disability in the recruitment process if they have to (because, for example, they need reasonable adjustments in order to access the recruitment process), if it will do them any particular favours (e.g. accessing a guaranteed interview scheme) or if not to do so might put them at a disadvantage. Otherwise it is irrelevant until at least job offer stage.

I’m looking at this purely from the candidate’s perspective, and would be interested in the view of employers. The concern (often legitimate) of a disabled candidate is that the prejudices of the employer might put them at a disadvantage if they mention their impairment too early in the process. However, in the case of, let’s say, someone with particular learning disabilities or acquired brain damage, it might be useful for the interview panel to know that they may need a bit more time to process questions before being able to answer them, for example.

From the employer’s perspective, it is important to reassure the candidate at every stage of the process that the employer is looking for the best person for the job, and will not be put off by disabilities unless they specifically relate to the job in question. Candidates need to feel safe that asking for reasonable adjustments in order to access part of the recruitment process won’t count against them.

So my advice would generally be, unless you have to, or it will help you, don’t mention your disabilities until the job offer stage (and only then if you might need reasonable adjustments of some kind in order to carry out your role). What do employers think of this advice?

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