Current Issue 13thFebruary 2016 - 19 February 2016, i.e. No. 45


- Ranjit Bhattacharyya & Prosenjit Majumdar

In today’s cut throat competitive world, securing employment seems to be the toughest job even for the fit (physically normal) person. It becomes difficult when it comes to persons with hearing impairment. There are number of reasons behind this. Firstly, the “attitude” of the employers. The employers tend to look more at the disabilities overlooking the “abilities” of the deaf persons. The initial reaction of the employers revolves around the problem of communication with the Deaf in workplace. In the process, they ignore the skills required to perform a particular job. The nature of job may not involve hearing and /or speaking ability in its execution. In Govt. and Public Sectors certain number of jobs are identified as suitable for the hearing handicapped.  Government has made various provisions through laws and schemes to provide employment in Public and Private sectors. However, the response is not very encouraging. Right to livelihood (Employment) is basic to all human beings. Every individual has basic and fundamental right for a dignified and independent life. The Vocational Rehabilitation is normally understood as part of rehabilitation process involving Vocational Guidance, Vocational Training and Employment. The globalization of economy has opened up the employment market for new trades and skills.

      Keeping this in view, a need has been felt to equip the persons with hearing impairment with the skills to face the job interviews successfully.

      Who is hearing impaired:The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 defines ‘hearing disability’ as a loss of 60 decibels or more in better ear in the conversational range of frequencies. There are millions of people in India who have varying degree of hearing loss ranging from mild to profound category. Though hearing impairment is one of the most prevailing conditions, it often goes unnoticed because of its invisibility. Hearing loss can be congenital (since birth) and acquired (after birth).

There are many ways to get interviews. Here are some of the ways to get interviews.
i) The candidate can write letters of introduction with the resume and mail them to   different companies. If a company has a job opening for a person with the qualifications, the candidate may be asked to visit the company for an interview.
ii)  He /She can also look for the advertisement in newspapers for jobs.
iii) Another way to get interviews is to find out which companies will be sending their representatives to the Training/Rehabilitation Centre for campus recruitment. If an interview is scheduled with a recruiter, be sure that all the necessary paper (resume, transcript, application form, etc.) is readily available with you before the interview.
iv) Another way to get interviews is to visit the District Employment Exchange. An employment officer /counselor helps the candidates to follow their system for finding jobs and getting interviews. Many District Employment Exchanges have a person who is responsible for working with disabled.
v) The candidate can also visit the Recruitment Cell of any company to tell about his/her interest in working for them. If the candidate uses this way to get an interview, remember to take a copy of the resume. The candidate should be ready for interview at the same time. Also, he/she may probably be asked to fill out a job application during the visit to the company.

      During an interview, the employer tries to determine whether the personality, experience, and career goals of the candidates are, what the company is looking for. The interview gives the candidate an opportunity to convince the employer that he/she is the right person for the job.

      It is important for the candidates to understand the employer and vice-versa during the interview. Therefore, it is necessary for the candidate to explain to the interviewer the best way for him/her to communicate. Many people have had little or no experience talking to deaf people. The candidate can help the interviewer by making him/her comfortable about communicating with them.
      After making an appointment for an interview, the candidates are encouraged to go for the interview alone. By going to the interview alone the candidate shows the employer that he/she is an independent person. The candidate can best show how competent he/she is by going to the interview and discussing things openly and honestly. Remember, employers like to see independent people who have positive attitudes. 
      In some instances, the candidate or the employer may feel it is necessary to have an interpreter present during the interview. Some companies may arrange their own interpreters through referral or rehabilitation centres.


      It is necessary for the candidate to make many preparations for each interview. If the candidate does not prepare well, he/she might have a bad interview. Sometimes people, who do not prepare well, go to an interview and don’t know what they will say become frightened and nervous and can only answer yes or no to questions. The candidate can avoid these mistakes by making preparations. There are many things the candidate will have to do to prepare for interview. The candidate should prepare himself/herself well in advance. Go through the leading newspaper regularly besides other news magazine.

      Write down the information such as name and address of the company date and time of the interview as soon as the candidate gets it. If any of the following information is missing be sure to get it as soon as possible.

      Several days before interview, there are more things the candidate can do to prepare. If interview is held in home area, the candidate will need to know how long it takes to get from the home to the company where interview will be held. A good idea would be to visit the location of interview. If the candidates are going to a new city, they must be sure to understand the geography and transportation system in that city. The vocational counsellor might be able to help to find out about transportation arrangements. The candidate should plan the travel arrangements to arrive about 20 minutes before interview. It is also a good idea to learn about the company where the candidate will be interviewing. The candidate should know about the company’s products or services and where its plants or offices are located.


      Prepare yourself to be able to answer all questions quickly and intelligently in the interview. Always tell the truth. This will help you avoid sounding confused. Being honest will help you in the interview. In order to tell an interviewer about yourself, you need to know about yourself. Think about the following questions. Can you answer these questions?

        What are your qualifications (skills)? What college courses did you like? What are your favorite sports? Do you enjoy reading? Do you enjoy being with people?

WHAT ARE YOUR STREN-GTHS? Can you give instructions? Can you take instructions? Are you a hard worker? Are you honest?

NO ONE IS PERFECT WHAT ARE YOUR MAJOR WEAKNESSES? Do you always pay attention? Is your work always done on time? Do you need supervision?

WHAT SPECIAL TRAINING OR EXPERIENCE HAVE YOU HAD? What courses did you take to prepare to apply for this job? How is your work experience related to this job?

What were your School Grades?
      Why were they good? Why were they bad?

DO YOU LIKE TO WORK WITH OTHER PEOPLE? Do other people like to work with you? Do you like to work alone?

WHY SHOULD WEHIRE YOU? What can you do for our company? Do you have experience which can be used at our company‘? Do you have training that can be used with our company?

WHY ARE YOU INTERESTED IN OUR COMPANY? Do we have jobs you have been trained for? Are we close to your home? Do we have a good business reputation? Are we a good company that has continued to make money year after year?

      The day before your interview you should decide what you are going to wear. Make sure that your appearance is neat and clean. The day before the interview you should also get all the material you will need together and have them ready. this includes:

  • A pen and a notebook with paper to write on
  • An extra copy of your resume
  • A copy of your list of references or letters of reference
  • A portfolio or examples of your work if you have them
  • Other materials


When you meet the person who will be interviewing you, be sure to:

  • Walk confidently into the interviewer’s office.
  • Look the interviewer straight in the eye and shake hands firmly.
  • Introduce yourself. Tell the interviewer who you are and what job you are applying for.
  • Wait until the interviewer indicates you to sit down.
  • Explain your communication needs.


  • Sit up straight in your chair.
  • Do not put your hands, elbows, hat, papers or anything on the interviewer’s desk.
  • Do not smoke and do not chew gum.
  • Do not yawn or slouch in the chair.
  • Do not play with your tie or ring or pens.


  • Be sure to tell the Interviewer the best way to communicate with-you
  • Let the interviewer begin the interview. He/she knows what information is needed.
  • Show a positive attitude. Act like you know what you are doing and that you are really interested in and qualified for the job.
  • If you do not understand a question, be sure to ask the interviewer to repeat or write the question.
  • Tell the interviewer you want to learn and will do a good job for the company.
  • Discuss your past work experience if it relates to the job you are interviewing for.
  • Discuss your education.
  • Do not show that you are tired, bored, or discouraged.


  • Pay close attention to the interviewer.
  • Do not argue with the interviewer.
  • Answer questions as honestly and as completely as you can. Try to avoid answering questions with a simple yes or no. (i.e. if your answer is yes, say why it is yes, or why it is no?)
  • Tell the interviewer when you don’t know the answer to a question and tell him/her you will try to get the information he/she is asking for.
  • Fill out completely all forms or papers given to you, even if you think they are unnecessary. Read all the forms carefully and ask questions if you don’t understand.


  • You have the right to ask questions any time during the interview. It is good idea to ask some definite questions about the company to show your interest. Some good questions to ask for:
  • Does the company have an induction training programme?
  • What are the opportunities for advancement?
  • What are the exact duties for the job?
  • It is good idea to wait for the interviewer to bring up the subject of benefits (money, vacation, insurance, retirement, etc.). After the interviewer has mentioned these topics, you can ask whatever questions you have.


  • Allow the interviewer to end the interview.
  • Ask when-a decision will be communicated about the selection.
  • Tell the interviewer how to contact you.
  • Thank-the interviewer for the opportunity to talk with him/her.


  • Follow-up is very important when you are looking for a job.
  • Ask the interviewer when he/she will contact you again.
  • Ask if it is okay to call or come back in a day or two because of your interest in the job.
  • After the interview, write a short note thanking the interviewer for the opportunity to meet him/her. Again, this will show your interest in the job.


  • Do tell the interviewer the best way to communicate with you.
  • Do listen to the interviewer’s ideas.
  • Do maintain good eye contact to let interviewer know you are really interested in the job.
  • Do make yourself understand.
  • Do ask questions if you do not understand something.
  • Do shake hands firmly and act naturally
  • Do read the company’s recruiting literature or annual report, etc., before the interview.
  • Do pay attention to everything the interviewer says.
  • Be enthusiastic, be cooperative and friendly.
  • Do sit up straight in your chair.
  • Do think of how you can help the employer in ‘his/her business.
  • Do keep your hair trim and neat. This includes beards and moustaches for men.
  • Don’t dress “fancy” or look sloppy.
  • Don’t be late for your interview.
  • Don’t act too happy or too sad.
  • Don’t try to be funny.
  • Don’t talk about your weakness.
  • Don’t stay and talk too long.

      It is impossible to think of  total eradication of employment problem for the deaf. However, it is definitely possible by bridging the communication gap between the deaf community and the employers through the above mentioned approach. Besides, there is no standard formula for increasing the employment services to the deaf community. Still some approaches are found to be effective. For all practical purposes, the hearing impaired candidates should not depend on sympathy. Rather, they should try to perform at par with their other counterparts. It is ultimately the education and skills which are crucial in securing employment.
(Ranjit Bhattacharyya is Head of the Department, Department of Socio-Economic Rehabilitation, AYJ National Institute for the Hearing Handicapped (Ministry & Social Justice Empowerment, Govt. of India), K. C. Marg, Bandra, Mumbai-400050, & Prosenjit Majumdar is Social Welfare Officer, at Eastern Regional Centre, AYJ National Institute for the Hearing Handicapped, B.T. Road, Bonhooghly, Kolkata 700090)

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