Interview Preparation: Self-Description for Job Seekers Who Are Visually Impaired
In almost every interview, there will be an open-ended self-description opportunity along the lines of: “So, tell me about yourself.” Often the interviewer will begin the interview with this type of question, and your answer will be one of the first things the interviewer hears from you. How you respond will set the tone of the interview, provide some direction for further questions from the interviewer, and establish your personality and attitude.
Self-Description Tips for Job Seekers with Vision Loss
It is important to prepare a confident, clear, and precise answer to this question as a job seeker who is blind or visually impaired, using your response to cover ground you have thoughtfully considered. Aim for an answer between one and one half to two minutes long. “Tell me about yourself” is a standard interview question, so it’s crucial to appear well-prepared to answer it. A rambling, disorganized response or an answer that is either too long or too short can indicate that you did not prepare for the interview.
Consider the following when preparing an answer:
- Mention one or two positive personal traits: enthusiastic, hardworking, diligent, organized, patient, etc.
- Talk briefly about where you grew up and your family. Example: “I grew up in north central New Jersey with my parents and two brothers.”
- Mention any accomplishments (e.g., Eagle Scout, student body president, athlete, etc.), keeping things focused and short.
- Transition to work-related information or information that will demonstrate why you would be an asset to the business as a visually impaired employee.
- Speak about any training or related experience relevant to the position: degrees, courses, certifications, work experience, etc.
- If you volunteer for any organizations or charities, include this information after you have talked about job-relevant training and paid experience.
- Have a clear closing for your answer.
- Only elaborate if the interviewer asks you to clarify something you mentioned.
- Interviewers value concise answers that have specific points. Many interviewers must make sure that interviewees meet the requirements listed for the position. Keep this in mind as you craft your answer.
- Use appropriate language and grammar.
- Do not share irrelevant or negative information.
- Be calm and composed.
- Pace your answer: though you want to be brief and to the point, it’s important to avoid speaking too quickly or sounding like you are rushing.
The preparation you devote to this answer will serve you well in any interview situation.
Disclosing a Visual Impairment
As a job seeker with a visual impairment, disclosing your disability is one of the most difficult issues people with visual impairments face during the interview process. Learn when to disclose a visual impairment, the pros and cons of disclosing a disability, and general tips about the process by reading Tools for Finding Employment: Disclosing a Visual Impairment.
The Job Seeker’s Toolkit
The Job Seeker’s Toolkit is a free, self-paced, comprehensive, and acccessible guide to the employment process for individuals who are blind or visually impaired. Set up a CareerConnect account to get started with the Toolkit—it’s an easy and fast process that will give you access to many helpful job hunting resources including additional information about the interview process!
This article and the Job Seeker’s Toolkit are based on the second edition of The Transition Tote System by Karen Wolffe and Debbie Johnson (American Printing House for the Blind).