How to Share Medical Information in an Interview
Are you able to perform the job? This should always be confined to a "yes" or "no" answer. As a recruiter, I have sat through many interviews where I have been amazed at the amount of confidential, medical information that candidates feel it necessary to disclose. There are a variety of reasons people want to share.
First, if they are predisposed to sharing information anyway and delight in having a captive audience to share their ailments. At this point, however, most recruiters will redirect the conversation back to the interview. Why? Discrimination lawsuit in the making.
Second, some candidates feel the need to be 100% honest. Think about the question. “Are you able to perform the job?” If your medical state has nothing to do with the job, there really is no need to disclose it. There are circumstances, however, when you really should be honest. For example, if you are interviewing for a job as a courier and you have a bad back (medically-verified), you may want to disclose this information during the interview.
There are those job-seekers, however, who try to skirt the system. They mistakenly assume if they get hired by an employer who offers medical benefits, then they will be able to use those benefits to seek medical care. This could backfire, however, if you're unable to perform the duties of the position. Employment-at-will and probationary periods are all designed to weed out non-performers.
What about pregnancy? This one can be tricky. The Pregnancy Act of 1978 essentially prohibits employers from using pregnancy as a reason for hiring or terminating an employee. This, however, does not mean an employer cannot find another reason for not hiring you. This is really an ethical question. If you are one of their top candidates, they may still hire you despite impending childbirth.
So should you disclose medical information or not? Supplying unnecessary medical information may cause the hiring manager to think you're vying for the role of office drama queen. The rule-of-thumb should be to share medical information only if it is directly related to the job you are applying for.
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