Exploring differences in the content of job interviews between youth with and without a physical disability

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Objective: Although people with disabilities have great potential to provide advantages to work environments, many encounter barriers in finding employment, especially youth who are looking for their first job. A job interview is an essential component of obtaining employment. The objective of this study is to explore the content of the answers given in job interviews among youth with disabilities compared to typically developing youth. Methods: A purposive sample of 31 youth (16 with typical development and 15 with disability) completed a mock job interview as part of an employment readiness study. The interview questions focused on skills and experiences, areas for improvement, and actions taken during problem-based scenarios. Transcribed interviews were analyzed using a content analysis of themes that emerged from the interviews. Results: We found several similarities and differences between youth with disabilities and typically developing youth. Similarities included giving examples from school, emphasizing their "soft skills" (i.e., people and communication skills) and giving examples of relevant experience for the position. Both groups of youth gave similar examples for something they were proud of but fewer youth with disabilities provided examples. Differences in the content of job interview answers between the two groups included youth with disabilities: (1) disclosing their condition; (2) giving fewer examples related to customer service and teamwork skills; (3) experiencing greater challenges in providing feedback to team members and responding to scenario-based problem solving questions; and (4) drawing on examples from past work, volunteer and extra curricular activities. Conclusions: Clinicians and educators should help youth to understand what their marketable skills are and how to highlight them in an interview. Employers need to understand that the experiences of youth with disabilities may be different than typically developing youth. Our findings also help to inform employment readiness programs by highlighting the areas where youth with disabilities may need extra help as compared to typically developing youth.




Lindsay, S., & DePape, A. M. (2015). Exploring differences in the content of job interviews between youth with and without a physical disability. PLoS ONE, 10(3). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0122084

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