Everyone from 20-somethings fresh out of college to 53 year olds making a late-life career change experiences a little anxiety before a job interview. Whether you’ve decided to return to the workforce after retiring or are switching to an exciting new industry, chances are you have a lot of questions about how and when to share information about your hearing loss with the interviewer or hiring company. Because around 15 percent of adults are living with hearing loss, its likely that employers are familiar with interviewing and hiring employees who require different types of hearing loss solutions.
In fact, adults over the age of 55 are much more likely today than ever before to be members of the workforce. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found in a 2008 study that between 1977 and 2007, there was 100 percent growth in the number of people ages 65 or older in the workforce. The study predicts that this trend will continue.
Here are some tips for interviewing with hearing loss:
Don’t share right away
The Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) advises job applicants with hearing loss that it is unnecessary to mention your hearing loss in your cover letter or resume. This might tell prospective employers that you are insecure about your hearing loss. Though it’s of course important to be honest in your cover letter, you wouldn’t disclose to prospective employers that you wear glasses, so it isn’t necessary to mention your hearing loss. As long as you are well-qualified for the job, that is all that matters.
When you get an interview, be confident. Emphasize your past experiences, your special skills and how these things relate to the current position. Lucy, from the blog “Life Inside These Hearing Aids,” advises applicants to avoid calling their hearing loss a weakness.
“Focus on your job-related strengths and be honest about your weaknesses – but just know that hearing loss is not one of those weaknesses!” Lucy advises.
Share when it’s right
The right time to share about your hearing loss will be different for everyone and you can be the judge of that. If you have very mild hearing loss and are an expert at reading lips, it might not be necessary during the interview. If you will require an amplified telephone or other assistive listening devices for the interview, this is something you will need to share with your prospective employer right away so she or he can make accommodations.
If you have a phone interview and use voice recognition technology like a captioned telephone, this is something you should share right away during the phone call so the interviewer will understand why there are short silences during captioning. Lucy said that during a phone interview, she told her interviewer that she was using a CapTel phone and then explained to him how the technology worked, but didn’t linger on the subject and instead focused on the job and her qualities that made her an excellent fit.
Draw on your experience
As an older adult, you have rich professional and life experiences to draw on that younger candidates do not. Be confident in your abilities. You can also explain to your prospective employer how you and your boss have found easy and inexpensive hearing loss solutions at work in the past.