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imagesCATCH-22 OF DISCLOSING DISABILITIES FOR JOB SEEKERS
by Kenneth Matos / November 3, 2015

What job seeker hasn’t found some of their applications disappearing into the resume black hole: that frustrating experience where you send out dozens of resumes and fill out multiple online applications and never get a response. You have to wonder why you didn’t get a call back. Not enough detail? Too much detail? Wrong font?

Unfortunately, disclosing you have a disability may be one reason, according to new research.

Researchers at Rutgers and Syracuse universities looked to see whether resumes with an acknowledgement of a disability would be as effective as identical resumes with no mention of a disability.

In an article about the findings in The New York Times today, one member of the research team shared her surprise over how big of a difference the disclose makes:

“I don’t think we were astounded by the fact that there were fewer expressions of interest” for people with disabilities, said Lisa Schur, a Rutgers political scientist. “But I don’t think we were expecting it to be as large.”

The question of disclosure of a minority identity in job applications is one facing multiple communities including veterans, LGBT individuals, racial/ethnic minorities and anyone else who questions whether it is better to get the interview by playing it coy or pre-screen out unsupportive organizations by letting them reject you first. While the value of this job search strategy depends on the person, the question assumes that being out on a resume will have an effect.

This creates a Catch-22 for job seekers with disabilities. Ironically, other research shows disclosure could lead to more support for job success from employers.

A Families and Work Institute study Including the Talents of Employees with Disabilities released earlier this year found that more employers (84%) provide employees with disabilities access to task flexibility than employees in general (73%).

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