Disability confidence beyond the application process: explaining mitigating circumstances (Part 1)

In this blog, we discuss how you can talk about your disability with an employer. You might want to explain how you have developed strengths and skills that will be useful in the workplace, explain mitigating circumstances like lack of work experience or grades that don’t reflect your abilities, in a way that helps the employer make reasonable adjustments – or helps you be open because it’s an important part of your identity.

 black woman sitting down to adjust her prosthetic legTo disclose is a choice

Have you ever wondered if and how recruiters and employers take mitigating circumstances and disability into account? There are of course many benefits to be seen about sharing your needs with a potential recruiter when you come to an interview, and King’s Careers & Employability offers lots of support for this important but sometimes sensitive topic.

But disclosure is a simple word that describes a lot more than just sharing information with an employer. It is a choice that every individual makes themselves. Choosing to share also includes accepting yourself, developing the confidence to discuss your circumstances that may sometimes be difficult and knowing about flexible solutions that you may need to build success.


Debunking the myths about mitigating circumstances!

Recent statistics suggest that 76% of disabled students are worried about disclosing. In this section, we are going to look at some common worries and debunk some misconceptions.


Am I a weaker applicant because of the barriers that I have faced?

The first misconception to debunk is that your circumstances do not automatically make you a weaker applicant. Sure, we all know that applying for jobs is competitive. But explaining your circumstances simply and clearly to employers will help them to see how your ability to do the job is not affected by external barriers you might have faced.


Am I a sob story if I share about my personal circumstances?

Another misconception to debunk is that you might be viewed as difficult or asking for an unfair advantage but this is absolutely not the case! Sharing information is valuable when it helps you showcase your potential and put your achievements into context. Employers value that knowledge as now they can take actions to support you with any necessary adjustments or evaluate you as a candidate with a fairer, understanding perspective.


While unfortunately discrimination and barriers still exist in the job market, remember that you can always speak to a Careers Consultant and explore our Careers+ programme for advice and support throughout your time at King’s and up to two years after you graduate. Student and staff networks at King’s such as KCLSU Disabled Students Network and Access King’s are also here to help you build success!


Do ‘adjustments’ mean I can only ask if there’s a big reason to?

Another common misconception is that reasonable adjustments need to be big or expensive. In reality, adjustments can also be small things that make you feel comfortable, such as making sure that an employer simply has awareness of your circumstances, or that you prefer not to shake hands.


Click here to read Part 2 of this blog, where we explore 3 example-based ways to describe gaps in your CV, and how you can demonstrate transferable skills to show your true potential!