Talking about depression in a job interview
Posted Wednesday 2 May 2012
Hi! I’m Steve. I’m 33, from Nottingham and a chronic depression sufferer for 17 years.
I have been unemployed for just over six weeks. The stress of this is beginning to take its toll. I have been applying for anything and everything with no avail.
So you can imagine my excitement when I received a call from a company who told me they had seen my CV online and the Managing Director wanted me to come in for an interview. I hadn’t even applied for a job there – I had been head hunted!
On the day of the interview I was very nervous. I just wanted to make a good impression.
I arrived 30 minutes early so I could think out my ‘strategy’. I was given an application form to fill in which I started to do. The questions were all pretty standard. No problems there. One question asked if I had any physical or mental health issues which could affect my performance.
I disclosed my depression, as I normally do. It doesn’t usually affect my performance at work but sometimes it can. If I want people to support me during these times, they are going to have to know, right?
I finished completing my application form and waited to be called in by the manager. It wasn’t long before I was sitting in his office, waiting to give the interview of my life.
The interviewer welcomed me, pleasantries were exchanged and then the interview began in earnest. I was asked all kinds of questions about my experience and achievements throughout my working life and I tried to give clear, concise answers. From his body language, I felt that the interview was going well.
Then the interviewer mentioned my depression.
He asked me how long I have had it. Then he said the one thing that I truly wasn’t expecting: “So then, when are you planning on snapping out of it?”
Have you ever been so shocked that you feel your eyebrows lift so high they almost jump off your head?
I was totally thrown. I just wanted to leave. But I didn’t want him to know he’d got to me. I remained as calm as I could and let the interview come to a natural end. I thanked him for his time and left the office.
On my way home I called the company and requested they withdraw my application. They asked why and I explained what had happened and how it made me feel.
How am I expected to get on with my life and manage my disability when ignorant people stigmatise me and people like me?
One thing is for sure – I’m better off unemployed than working in that environment.
My quest for employment continues....
I am pleased to say that last week I attended an interview at a company in Nottinghamshire and I got it! I start on 1 May.
Wish me luck!
If you are applying for a job your prospective employer is not allowed to ask questions about your health until a job offer has been made. Pauline, from our legal team, blogs about disclosing your mental health to an employer.
If you’re worried about how your employers will react, please contact us for advice.
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