First impression counts – Why having a stutter is a make or break in a job interview situation

It’s been nearly two months since my position was made redundant at the Canberra Business Chamber, 30 applications, 10 interviews and on top of that battling personal issues and I still haven’t managed to secure a job.

A normal person with skills in my area would have no problem to obtain a new job in 3 months. But I know myself, getting back into the workforce is always a challenge, due to my stutter. It’s a constant battle.

Stammering can be covered under the Equality Act 2010 if it has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on carrying out normal day-to-day activities. (British Stammering Association, June 2019)

I have recently experienced on two job interviews this question being asked: ‘Would you like a pen and paper?’ This is implying that I am unable to communicate with the interview panel; that I seem to apear weak; that I lack communication skills; that I need special assistance in answering a question. These assumptions are irrelevant and should never be brought up in a job interview situation.

In our current society, organisations must be educated and having a person asking a stutterer this question is an insult, and it is discrimination. The person that had made this statement may think they are ‘helping you’. To a stutterer no they are not helping, they are actually putting you down!

It’s ignorance and judgment that is getting in the way. We need more people to be educated in how to communicate with others who have a disability. It’s about embracing people not judging them and encouraging others when they are in a tough situation. 

Here is my Toasmasters Speech I performed, which addresses my experience at a Job Interview. I hope this helps and educates people to be more aware of what difficulties and challenges people with a disability/ impediment in our society have.

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