Centred Content

Employment Advice for Persons with Developmental Disabilities

Dear Joanna
I am both scared and nervous about my very first ever job interview that I will be attending for a customer service position at a local retail store. It’s my dream job. My job coach from Reena’s Channels program will be coming with me as she has arranged this interview. It would really help me if I bring my friend to the interview as it will help me with my stress. Is this acceptable etiquette at an interview?

Signed: A little help from my friend

Centred Content

Dear ALHF,

I’ve consulted with Reena’s leading Channels (and Pathways) community day and supported employment program supervisor Judy Biniaminov and expert Job Coach Ellery Ulster on best practices for their job seekers on what to bring to the job interview. Together with research presented from other professionals in the field including Bromstein’s blog www.careers.workopolis.com/advice/eight-things-not-to-bring-to-the-job-interview/, I’ve summarized the following 10 items that can ruin your chances of getting the job offer.

  1. Your parents. As you will not be bringing your parents to your place of employment, do not bring your parents or any family member with you to the interview. Remember, you are an adult and getting a job is one of the important ways to become self-sufficient and an adult.
  2. Your pets. Unless you require a service animal, keep your pets at home. And if you are bringing your service dog (or pet) to the interview, it’s important to advise the employer in advance. You will need this support when you are working as well.
  3. Your phone / Electronic devices. Hide your phone, ear phones, or any electronic devices as well as turn them off. Phones can be put on silent or airplane mode). It is disrespectful and rude to have it ringing in the interview. It is important to show complete full attention to the interviewer(s). Carry as little with you as possible to make the best impression.
  4. Coffee/Water. If the interviewers offers you a drink, I personally would not accept it. If you do require water because of dry mouth, or it’s a hot day, then bring your own bottle. I’d bring a small one. And I’d mention that you might have to sip some water during the interview before you get started. Remember, the interview is about what you can do for the employer, and not what the employer can do for you. Don’t show up carrying one not only in case you spill it but again, it could be interpreted as unprofessional.
  5. A competitor’s product. Do your homework. “Don’t show up for an interview at Starbucks while carrying a Tim Horton’s coffee unless you intend to discuss the competition and how you can help the employer compete.
  6. Inappropriate materials. Don’t bring any reading material that makes you look anything less than serious, intelligent, and professional like erotica, gossip magazines or inappropriate and unrelated reading.
  7. Your shopping: Don’t bring your shopping bags to the interview. This presents the absolute wrong message. It makes it look like the interview is just something you’re fitting in between other things, not the sole focus of your day. You want to look like you really care about the job. Do your shopping later.
  8. Food. Eat your meal before the interview whether it’s in person or virtual or on the phone. In all formats, it’s a serious interview. You must be professional and prepared. And don’t bring food.
  9. Chewing gum or candy. This is a big no-no. Your mouth should be used only for responding to the interview questions and building rapport with the interviewers. Nothing else.
  10. Old resume / cover letter. Make sure all of your documents are up to date, organized in a professional folder or bag and are neatly presented. Crumpled, messy and torn resumes and cover letters do not make a good impression for the employer.


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