Carnegie Mellon University

Accommodating Applicants with Disabilities

Interviewing Candidates Who Use Mobility Aids

  • Make sure the interview location is accessible, including access to:
    • Disabled parking spaces
    • Ramps and elevators
    • Accessible restrooms, water fountains and telephones
  • Enable those who use crutches, canes or wheelchairs to keep them within reach. Be aware that some wheelchair users may choose to transfer themselves out of their wheelchair into an office chair for the interview.
  • When interviewing a person in a wheelchair, sit in a chair to place yourself at that person’s eye level to facilitate conversation.
  • Never touch or lean on a person’s wheelchair. It is part of the body space that belongs to the person who uses it.

Interviewing Candidates with Vision Impairments

  • When greeting a person with a vision impairment, always identify yourself and introduce anyone else who is present.
  • Allow a person with a visual impairment to take your arm at or about the elbow. This will enable you to guide rather than propel or lead the person.
  • When offering seating, provide verbal directions as to the location of the seat.
  • When conversing in a group, give a verbal cue by always announcing the name of the person to whom you are speaking.
  • Let the candidate know if you move or need to end the conversation.
  • Never pet or distract a guide dog.
  • If there will be written materials in the interview, find out before the interview if there is an alternative format the candidate would prefer such as large print, Braille or tape recording.

Interviewing Candidates with Speech Impairments

  • Allow time for the candidate to speak. Exercise patience rather than attempting to speak for the person or complete their sentences for them.
  • Do not pretend to understand if you do not. Ask the candidate to repeat what you do not understand.
  • Do not shout or raise your voice.

Interviewing Candidates Who Are Deaf or Hearing Impaired

  • If the candidate lip-reads, look directly at them. Speak clearly at a normal pace. Do not exaggerate your lip movements or shout. Speak expressively because the person will rely on your facial expressions, gestures and body movements to understand you. Maintain eye contact.
  • Place yourself facing the light source and keep your hands away from your mouth when speaking.
  • Use a normal tone of voice. Only raise your voice if requested. Brief concise written notes may be helpful.
  • If the candidate prefers, you can request a sign language interpreter or captioner [pdf].
    • During the interview, the interpreter should be seated beside the interviewer, across from the candidate.
    • Speak to the candidate, not to the interpreter. Always maintain eye contact with the candidate, not the interpreter.
    • The interpreter will be at least a few words behind the speaker, so allow for the extra time before the candidate begins to respond.