When to Disclose
It is not necessary to disclose your disability on your resume. Although disclosing at this point allows the employer to decide if you disability is an issue, it could possibly hinder your chances of being asked to interview if the employer is uneducated regarding individuals with disabilities and "buys into" negative stereotypes.
Many employers require applicants to complete an application form. It is illegal for employers to ask if you have a disability on the application. If you encounter this question on an application form, it is advisable to leave the question blank.
Before the Interview
If you have a visible disability, you may want to disclose prior to the interview in order to avoid a shock effect or awkwardness during the interview. When interviewers are caught off guard, they may focus on your disability and have difficulty concentrating on your abilities.
Also, if you have a disablity that requires an accommodation for the interiview, you will, of course, need to disclose when you are called to schedule the interview. Additionally, you should determine if the interview location is accessible prior to the date of the interview. It is always better to deal with this situation before rather than minutes before the interview. This also demonstrates to the employer that you can comfortably deal with these types of situations.
During the Interview
Moment of Meeting:
If you have a visible disability (but do not require accommodation for the interview) and do not want the employer to have time to form stereotyped ideas, you may choose to disclose at the moment of meeting. Some employers may find it difficult to move beyond your disability and focus on your qualifications. It then becomes your responsibility to help them do so by openly discussing your disablity and helping them focus on your abilities and qualifications.
Elsewhere During the Interview:
Disclosing at other points during the interview allows you to respond briefly and positively to specific disability-related issues. It becomes your responsibility to address these issues in a clear, non-threatening way. Putting too much emphasis on your disability could be an indicator to the employer that it is going to be a problem. You should be comfortable discussing your disability, but not appear too preoccuupied with it.
After the Interview
If you have a hidden disablity that may affect essential job-related functions or require an accommodation, you need to consider disclosing at this time (if you have not already done so).
If you have an invisible disability that will not affect any job-related functions, you may choose not to disclose at all.
However, if you do disclose at this point, you will need to be able to evaluate your disability and explain that it will not interfere with your ability to do the job. If you require accommodations, you should be able to tell the employer what accommodations you need and how they will help you perform the job.
You should always be the one to bring up your disability. This demonstrates your positive self-perception and gives you control. This gives you the opportunity to educate the employer concerning your disability and discuss your qualifications and how you will be able to perform the job duties.