Going to a job interview can be a very daunting experience, especially if you have had gaps off work or periods of sickness due to periods of poor mental health. You shouldn’t be asked about your health, particularly mental health, in fact employers are legally expected to avoid such questions. However, some questions still may feel targeted as though the interviewer ‘knows’ you have mental health difficulties.
Here are a few tips to manage the interview;
1. Gaps in employment or periods of sickness
Employers want you to be at work and therefore want to know more about your gaps, changes in employment and sickness. Think about how you can explain these and focus on the positive changes that arose out of these events.
2. You have got rights
You do not have to disclose any difficulties yo have with your mental health. In fact, no-one is legally required to mention any medical condition during a job interview. Its your choice if you wish to share any issues around your health. You may be requested to attend a medical appointment within an occupation health department or complete a health questionnaire, however this will only be required following an job offer.
How much to say and ask?
Its important to sell yourself at interview – although this isn’t an easy task, especially if you have anxiety attacks or low self confidence. It’s also natural to hide weaknesses, and yet if you don’t ask enough questions about the job role, or pretend you can do things you really can’t, you may end up in a job that might exacerbate your anxiety, depression or mood swings. So, know your strengths and weaknesses and share what you feel you need to, after all you’ll be highlighting to your interviewer what you have good self awareness.
Seek support if you feel discriminated against
If you think you have been discriminated against, take advice, ask for support and decide what you want to do about it. Discrimination causes stigma and stops us all from talking about mental health and helping each other.