Author Topic: S/O Inappropriate Job Interviewees - Can't Help your Appearance  (Read 9087 times)

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cicero

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Re: S/O Inappropriate Job Interviewees - Can't Help your Appearance
« Reply #15 on: April 01, 2013, 01:25:10 PM »
Tyler Belle - I wanted to add something.

You sound like a very smart and insightful person. I know how hard it is to find a job, and I know that when someone is also dealing with a *difficulty" then that can make it even harder to get hired.

(I know because my DS is dealing with difficulties of other sorts and he cannot find a job)

So here is some advice -

first, your case worker should not be saying things like that to you. so she had another client who was a small person and had difficulties getting hired. so? maybe that other person also had *other* issues? and besides, everyone is different. so what didn't work for him may work for you. don't let your case worker discourage you.

Second - and I apologize if I am saying something inappropriate to you - maybe you should look into some kind of trainign or education. I don't know if you have already gone to school for a career path, but maybe it's something you should look into. is this possible?

third - and this is something that worked for me - when you keep doing the same thing and keep getting the same results (= not getting a job) then it may be time to change course. I know you got some good advice here and i know that you are thinking about it. I like the suggestion that you raise your height issue in the interview. Even if they don't ask you "do you have any questions" then just say "before we finish i did want to say something".

and good luck.

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anonymousmac

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Re: S/O Inappropriate Job Interviewees - Can't Help your Appearance
« Reply #16 on: April 01, 2013, 01:51:35 PM »
Cheyne's advice worked for me, too. I used to get super nervous, so I started writing down all the 'standard' interview questions I could think of and would then answer them aloud to myself a few times (not memorised, just to get used to saying certain points in a certain order). It helps a lot, because then when you're in a stressful situation, your brain can just default to what you practiced, and you don't have to act like a deer in the headlights. I found that for nearly all the questions they asked, I had an answer stored away somewhere that fit, even if it wasn't quite the same question as I'd anticipated.

Absolutely.  This is the number one best interview advice I ever got.  I had a list of questions like, "So, tell me about yourself!" and "What have you done before this?" and "Why did you leave your last job?" and "Tell me about a time you had to overcome a challenge."  I spent weeks thinking about and typing out and refining my answers to present the most important information that I wanted to make sure an interviewer learned about me, and to present things I was nervous about in the best light.  Then I practiced saying my answers, by myself in the mirror and then with friends, until I sounded like a normal person instead of reading cue cards, relaxed and confident. 

Doing this helped me internalize some good ways of describing myself and my work, and instead of freezing and going blank during an interview, I was able to respond in an intelligent and well-spoken way to almost anything they asked me.

I'd say the most important thing is to come up with a 2-3 sentence "elevator pitch" to describe yourself and what kind of work you're looking for.  If you can quickly and intelligently respond to "So, tell me about yourself!", then you've got a huge advantage over most people.

I really hope you find work that you love!

rashea

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Re: S/O Inappropriate Job Interviewees - Can't Help your Appearance
« Reply #17 on: April 01, 2013, 02:09:09 PM »
If you're in the US, they are not legally allowed to say anything about it, or not hire you on that basis. Now, try and prove it. ;)

My advice is to be as upfront about it as possible if they seem a bit uncomfortable. Make it just another part of your life, which is probably how you see it. When I was using a wheelchair, and interviewing I tried to remind myself that I was not my disability, and convince them of that as well. I also think it could be helpful to point out where you've succeeded in similar situations.

I think some people are afraid that someone coming in will need all sorts of accommodations. I think it's a nice thing to be able to reassure them that it isn't true if you can.
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camlan

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Re: S/O Inappropriate Job Interviewees - Can't Help your Appearance
« Reply #18 on: April 01, 2013, 02:38:01 PM »

Another poster said that in the US, employers would be required to make accommodations. I'm not sure that is true. They're required to make accommodations for certain specific disabilities. However, a much-shorter-than-average co-worker of mine is fond of saying that it's a condition, not a disability...I don't know if he's speaking in a legal sense, but I know that not all limitations are considered disabilities under the ADA.

That was me. The point I was trying to make is that many employers will just steer clear of any candidate who they think *might* need any accommodations. Doesn't matter if there is a real disability or not. There are unrealistic expectations of the cost involved, or how well the employee will work--all sorts of misconceptions.

A friend of mine has a guide dog. And a Master's in Social Work. She finally got feedback, after many interviews with no job offers, that one potential employer was concerned about the dog peeing and pooping in the office. No one ever questioned her about that. And guide dogs are trained to go sort of on command, and their owners know enough to take them outside at regular intervals. She can get the software she needs to use a computer free or at reduced cost from the state, but employers don't know that until she mentions it. What employers see when she arrives is, "Oh-oh. Problem. Liability. How much will it cost us to set up a workstation for her? What if the dog poops all over the place? What if the dog bites someone? More liability."

She has only ever been able to get employment with non-profit organizations for the blind. Not her first choice of work, as she'd like to be able to prove that she can hold her own with sighted co-workers. But she has to go where they'll offer her a job.

It's not legal, but it is very difficult to prove.

It is very possible that the OP is experiencing the same sort of thing, but there's no way to know for sure.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


katycoo

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Re: S/O Inappropriate Job Interviewees - Can't Help your Appearance
« Reply #19 on: April 01, 2013, 06:38:22 PM »
^^ This is why you shoudl volunteer information proactively.

If, hypothetically, the job requires sorting stock onto shelves too high for you, but not to high for a person of standard height, and you are eligible for a free stepladder, tell them in the interview. 

"You may not be aware, but XYZ is provided free of charge from ABD Corp to assist in my being able to effectively complete this task.  So that won't be a problem and i can complete all the paperwork to make that happen."

"My seeing eye dog is well trained, and while I will need to take him outside once in the morning and once in the afternoon for 5 minutes, this ensures he won't ever have an accident in the office."

Whatever.  But volunteer it.  It might assuade any concerns they have that they feel they can't vocalise due to discrimination laws.

katycoo

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Re: S/O Inappropriate Job Interviewees - Can't Help your Appearance
« Reply #20 on: April 01, 2013, 06:40:05 PM »
Or, volunteer to be asked.

"I know that my height probably carries some concerns for you that I might not be able to handle this job.  I'm here because I'm confident I can.  Are there any tasks you think I might have difficulty with so I can talk you through how I work around it?"

This feedback might be really helpful to you going forward.

TylerBelle

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Re: S/O Inappropriate Job Interviewees - Can't Help your Appearance
« Reply #21 on: April 02, 2013, 02:07:23 AM »
I'm in the US - Texas :D. To have a difference many people may not be used to and which they react to, it's easy to think you are all alone, and then you learn about it happening to others. On one hand, you see it isn't just you, but then you don't want others going through anything similar. Such as what a way to relay confidence to Pen^2's DH, as he was told, "Let's see if we can work with you anyway." Goodness. And about the lady with service dog that camlan shared, it's boggling to think people wouldn't catch on to there of course being a routine dealing with the dog's needs and so forth. Especially since it was specifically-trained and it would be going everywhere the lady would.

Tyler Belle - I wanted to add something.

You sound like a very smart and insightful person. I know how hard it is to find a job, and I know that when someone is also dealing with a *difficulty" then that can make it even harder to get hired.

(I know because my DS is dealing with difficulties of other sorts and he cannot find a job)

So here is some advice -

first, your case worker should not be saying things like that to you. so she had another client who was a small person and had difficulties getting hired. so? maybe that other person also had *other* issues? and besides, everyone is different. so what didn't work for him may work for you. don't let your case worker discourage you.

Second - and I apologize if I am saying something inappropriate to you - maybe you should look into some kind of trainign or education. I don't know if you have already gone to school for a career path, but maybe it's something you should look into. is this possible?

third - and this is something that worked for me - when you keep doing the same thing and keep getting the same results (= not getting a job) then it may be time to change course. I know you got some good advice here and i know that you are thinking about it. I like the suggestion that you raise your height issue in the interview. Even if they don't ask you "do you have any questions" then just say "before we finish i did want to say something".

and good luck.
Thanks! My dad for another thought it shouldn't have been said when I shared with him about what I'd been told. It wasn't meant to be nasty, but it wasn't too fair either, and unfortunately left quite an impression with me.

There is a place for job training in a town not too far from me. I just recently found out about it, and plan to be looking into within the coming weeks.


Cheyne's advice worked for me, too. I used to get super nervous, so I started writing down all the 'standard' interview questions I could think of and would then answer them aloud to myself a few times (not memorised, just to get used to saying certain points in a certain order). It helps a lot, because then when you're in a stressful situation, your brain can just default to what you practiced, and you don't have to act like a deer in the headlights. I found that for nearly all the questions they asked, I had an answer stored away somewhere that fit, even if it wasn't quite the same question as I'd anticipated.

Absolutely.  This is the number one best interview advice I ever got.  I had a list of questions like, "So, tell me about yourself!" and "What have you done before this?" and "Why did you leave your last job?" and "Tell me about a time you had to overcome a challenge."  I spent weeks thinking about and typing out and refining my answers to present the most important information that I wanted to make sure an interviewer learned about me, and to present things I was nervous about in the best light.  Then I practiced saying my answers, by myself in the mirror and then with friends, until I sounded like a normal person instead of reading cue cards, relaxed and confident. 

Doing this helped me internalize some good ways of describing myself and my work, and instead of freezing and going blank during an interview, I was able to respond in an intelligent and well-spoken way to almost anything they asked me.

I'd say the most important thing is to come up with a 2-3 sentence "elevator pitch" to describe yourself and what kind of work you're looking for.  If you can quickly and intelligently respond to "So, tell me about yourself!", then you've got a huge advantage over most people.

I really hope you find work that you love!
Thanks! I do like the idea of getting questions prepared and then considering answers to possible questions the interviewer will ask. For as you mention, I too have gone blank and not known what to say. Oh yes, practicing is what I'll need to do, and lots of it, to get things down pat and used to what I wish to get across, and not get all stumbling.   

Or, volunteer to be asked.

"I know that my height probably carries some concerns for you that I might not be able to handle this job.  I'm here because I'm confident I can.  Are there any tasks you think I might have difficulty with so I can talk you through how I work around it?"

This feedback might be really helpful to you going forward.
Oh yes, I see the responses and feedback as great tools and information for moving forward. To say I'm so grateful for all is an understatement. I worried (which I'm good at) that my shorter-than-short appearance would be more of a focus, and it hasn't been. I gotta say it's inspiring to hear about *inviteseller's coworker and to know with folks here if you were to interview ones like me and I had a good presentation and with the right qualifications, that I would have a good chance to be hired. There is hope ;D. I have also learned in here how to tactfully broach the subject of how my height might effect my being hired and how I could suggest or assure  I can't say thanks enough!!
Always be on the lookout for wonder. --E.B. White

Margo

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Re: S/O Inappropriate Job Interviewees - Can't Help your Appearance
« Reply #22 on: April 02, 2013, 11:40:16 AM »
I think that any employer who makes the decidion based on that probably won't admit it (maybe even to themselves).

I think this is true. I do wonder whether it might be helpful to let people know in advance of the interview. That way, the people who will reject you for that reason can do so without waiting for the interview, (probably by making up an excuse) which is not pleasant but may save you some time and stress.

Those who still offer you the interview will not be taken by surprise so they may find it easier to consider you on your merits than as 'the little person'

I also think it would be good if you are able to pro-actively mention your size at the interview and make a comment about what minor accommodation you may need. As PPs have said, this may help if the interviewer imagines that huge and expensive changes will be needed, and also if you bring up the subject you can give them the opportunity to ask (job-related) questions.

I think employers may feel nervous of raising the subject in case you see it as discriminatory or offensive.

If you say something like "I'm sure you'll have noticed my height - If you were to employ me the only accommodation I'm likely to need is a step-stool to be able to reach higher shelves (or whatever is appropriate for the job and your situation) - is there anything else about how my height might affect the job that you'd like to ask about? " - that allows them to raise any *relevant* issues without giving them carte blanche to ask all sorts of intrusive questions.

Without wishing to wander into legal territory, it may be that employers are worried that it would be hard to lay you off, as you might allege discrimination, and this may be feeding into their decision making, too, although again, asking isn't going to help as they would not admit that to you, and probably not even to themselves.

Good Luck in your job hunting

DistantStar

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Re: S/O Inappropriate Job Interviewees - Can't Help your Appearance
« Reply #23 on: April 02, 2013, 02:22:09 PM »
I'm an LP myself.  I don't remember my stature coming up at all in my interview, but I need very few accomodations in this job anyway; mostly I sit at a desk and am on the phone.  I don't remember it coming up at the interview, but that was five years ago, so it might have.  It seems to me that mentioning it beforehand could backfire; yes, it could save you the stress of a pointless interview, but it could also lose them a good worker if somebody is so ignorant they would write you off based on your dwarfism sight (and qualifications) unseen.  And that is without getting into any legal issues!  I wouldn't do it.

If it does come up, and is in an appropriate way, then I would sell your creativity with dealing with it.  I'm sure you've been finding workarounds and different approaches to issues when necessary for years, and while they might not think of a way to do X given your stature, you probably figured that one out years and years ago.  And an awful lot of what I need in the way of accomodations in an office setting is pretty simple, pretty much just a stepstool on occasion.

Best of luck!




 





Onyx_TKD

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Re: S/O Inappropriate Job Interviewees - Can't Help your Appearance
« Reply #24 on: April 02, 2013, 02:23:13 PM »
Most of interviews have been for clerical, some for retail. I do feel like I'm just going through the motions for the majority of them. Such as typing tests, and the interviewer saying something as they'll be evaluating things and letting you know that they've got others to see, and afterward, I don't hear anything from them. With retail, I've gotten the questions as 'If I could change anything about the store, what would it be?' I want so much to answer with brilliance, but that doesn't happen often.

I think you've gotten a lot of good advice, including practicing answering typical interview questions. The bolded question was one thing that jumped out at me from your posts. I think this question could be a beautiful opportunity to use your unusual height to your advantage. I would expect that the layouts and stocking methods of most stores present problems for people of unusual heights as well as people with disabilities. So I'd suggest making sure this question is in your list of "rehearsal" questions and try to take your different perspective into account in your answer. E.g., if a staple item is too high on the shelves for you to reach without help, then how many other customers--other little people, people in wheelchairs--can't reach it either? What about this particular store would make shopping difficult for you? What do other stores do that make things easier (and thus make them a more attractive place to shop)? Are there easy and inexpensive changes that could be made that would accommodate a wider range of heights? The store wants to have a setup that is good for their typical customers, but if you can suggest ways to make their setup work as well for even more of the customers, then you've got something to offer that many other candidates don't.

baglady

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Re: S/O Inappropriate Job Interviewees - Can't Help your Appearance
« Reply #25 on: April 03, 2013, 12:52:10 AM »
Employers in the U.S. are reluctant -- make that terrified -- to bring up anything that would even hint at the possibility they are taking an applicant's (insert status protected under anti-discrimination laws here) into consideration. So it doesn't come up in the interview, and they imagine a bunch of reasons this person wouldn't work out and blow him/her off: Little person won't be able to stock high shelves; physically disabled person will require expensive assistive devices; blind person's dog will be in the way; older person will be gone as soon as he turns 62. Of course, if challenged, they come up with an alternative reason for the decision ("So-and-so was better qualified"),

So it's up to the applicant to bring up the issue, and in a non-threatening way. (Threatening = "You can't refuse to hire me because I'm ____! I'll sue!" Non-threatening = "I guess it's up to me to address the elephant in the room. I'm ____. And here's what you need to know about my ___ness and its implications for me at work ... .") That's where to explain that all you need in the way of accommodation is a $25 stepstool, $50 non-rolling chair, twice-daily five-minute breaks to walk the dog, workstation near the elevators, whatever.

Bagman found himself out of work a few weeks shy of his 59th birthday, and obviously his age was an issue as he looked for a new job. He used the elephant-in-the-room approach with a dose of humor ("In case you hadn't noticed, I'm not 25 ... ") and found another gig that pays as well as his previous one.


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Slartibartfast

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Re: S/O Inappropriate Job Interviewees - Can't Help your Appearance
« Reply #26 on: April 03, 2013, 02:34:13 AM »
It sounds to me like even though you're interviewing for clerical and retail-type jobs, you maybe haven't had much experience in those industries - is that right?  Either way, I would suggest finding someone you can talk to - not someone interviewing you, but a family friend or a relative who is involved in retail/officework - and ask what kinds of things they can think of that might prevent someone of your stature from doing *their* job.  You live with your height every day, so you probably have all sorts of accommodations and solutions to things that taller people wouldn't even think of.  They may come up with some valid situations where you would need additional equipment or assistance, but I suspect they would also come up with some imagined issues which really wouldn't be a problem.

Then when you next have an interview, you can demonstrate a working knowledge of the job and address potential concerns right off the bat.  "I recognize that my height is unusual, but it wouldn't affect my ability to do work in this job.  I can carry heavy boxes just the same as an average-height person and as long as I have a $10 stepstool I can reach the same cupboards and equipment.  I don't walk any slower than anyone else, and customers assume I'm average size if they see me behind the counter and I'm on a stool."  (etc - address each of the real or imagined issues your source thinks might be a problem for you.)  Your interviewer might not ask these questions out loud - or even have thought about them at interview time - but having an answer will help him/her realize you're just as valid a candidate as the next person (at least on that front).

TylerBelle

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Re: S/O Inappropriate Job Interviewees - Can't Help your Appearance
« Reply #27 on: April 05, 2013, 04:00:45 AM »
Much appreciation! You all have given information of how to go about approaching interviews and potential employers with confidence. And vice versa, too - to instill confidence in the employer that the job can be done.

There are things pointed out here which I hadn't even thought of. It has very much alleviated worries, doubts, fears, potential nervousness, etc. Thank you lots! ;D
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VorFemme

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Re: S/O Inappropriate Job Interviewees - Can't Help your Appearance
« Reply #28 on: April 05, 2013, 09:40:16 AM »
If being able to reach lower shelves without bending over to the point of breaking your back or having smaller hands to make it a little easier to pick up small parts would be a plus for the job - you could mention that.

I remember someone who worked in a job (6' 7" with hands twice the size of my own) who had to ask other people to get some of the tinier parts OUT of the bin for him (bin section was smaller than his hand could fit into) until someone got smart and bought a long handled plastic cooking spoon from the dollar store for him to "dip" into the smaller sections when dumping all the parts out wasn't an option.  He could get a spoonful, then pick up one or two (whatever was needed) out of the spoon, and drop the rest back into the correct section. 

He was very handy to have around when it came to getting things off the top shelves, I understand..........not that I ever worked in that area.
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TylerBelle

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Re: S/O Inappropriate Job Interviewees - Can't Help your Appearance
« Reply #29 on: April 06, 2013, 12:56:01 AM »
Wow, yes, that is another good point to keep in mind. Thanks! It's also nice to hear the guy you mentioned was able to find a solution thus making his work easier. :)
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