If you are attending a job interview and you are deaf or hard of hearing or have a speech impairment, you may benefit from having the services of an interpreter at the interview. The Job Interview Interpreter Grant allows anyone who is deaf, hard of hearing or has a significant speech impairment to have a professional interpreter provide services for him/her at a job interview. If you have just started work, you may also get this grant to cover the costs of an interpreter during an induction period. The grant is provided under the Department of Social Protection’s Reasonable Accommodation Fund.
People who are deaf or hard of hearing communicate in a variety of ways, depending on a number of factors. Examples of these factors include: the amount of residual hearing, the type of hearing impairment, language skills, the age when the impairment began, speech abilities, speech-reading skills, personality, intelligence, family environment, and educational background.
In an interview setting, the use of an interpreter can help you express your thoughts clearly and concisely. Interpreters who are used during job interviews are not permitted to participate in the conversation and they view all information exchanged as confidential. Nothing is added or deleted from any interaction between you and the interview board that takes place.
This document describes the Job Interview Interpreter Grant and provides some general guidelines for employers and employees before and during the interview.
It is advisable to arrange interpreter services as far in advance of the interview date as possible. This will allow you both to make contact and discuss any specific requirements (for example, a presentation) that may be a requirement of the interview process.
Ensure that your interpreter has a copy of your curriculum vitae (CV) in advance of the interview and that you are both familiar and comfortable with any specific terminology or vocabulary that may be used during the discussion.
Contact the employer in advance of the interview to let him/her know the name of your interpreter and finalise all arrangements.
Interpreters have to be able to translate in both directions on the spot. There are two types of interpreting: consecutive and simultaneous.
During consecutive interpreting, the speaker should stop every 1-5 minutes (usually at the end of every "paragraph" or a complete thought) and the interpreter then renders what was said in the target language (for example, speech or sign language).
During simultaneous interpreting, the interpreter will begin to translate a few seconds after the speaker commences speaking. The type of interpreting used during the interview will depend on a number of issues (for example, the complexity of the subject matter being discussed). Consecutive interpreting is more often used during interviews and in question-and-answer sessions, but a mix of consecutive and simultaneous may be used (depending on appropriateness).
You should speak directly to the person who is deaf or is hard of hearing (the interviewee), not the interpreter. You should maintain eye contact with the interviewee to convey a feeling of direct communication.
The interpreter should stand or sit near the speaker, while the person with the hearing impairment should be near the interpreter and have a clear view. If the interviewer plans on moving around the area or if there will be multiple interviewers, the interviewee should ask the interpreter and interviewer before the interview where the best seating will be.
The interpreter should stand or sit near the speaker, while the person who is deaf or hard of hearing should be near the interpreter and have a clear view. If the interviewer plans on moving around the area or if there will be multiple interviewers, the interviewee should ask the interpreter and interviewer before the interview where the best seating will be.
Remember that the interpreter is a few words behind the speaker. Give enough time to finish before you continue so that the person who is deaf or hard of hearing can ask questions or join in the discussion.
The interpreter or the person who is deaf or hard of hearing may ask you to slow down or repeat a word or sentence for clarification. Likewise, be sure to ask for something to be repeated if it is unclear.
You should never ever ask the interpreter to "tell him/her..." as this is considered disrespectful and rude.
When speaking to someone who is deaf or hard of hearing or has a speech impairment, you should speak normally. Speaking loudly does not help, especially if there is an interpreter present. Remember to always speak directly to (and face) the interviewee - not the interpreter.
Allow the interviewee to complete his/her sentences. It is important to remember that people with language or speech impairments often have different speech patterns so you will need to listen attentively. If you do not understand what was said, ask questions and repeat them to make sure you are clear.
If you are attending the interview, you will need to source and select the interpreter that will accompany you to the interview. While the interpreter can be a friend, colleague or family member, it is advised that you seek a professionally qualified interpreter.
If you will be attending more than one interview, you can apply to have an interpreter present for each interview. The number of interviews at which you can attend with an interpreter is unlimited.
If you are unable to source an interpreter, you can request interpretation services through the Sign Language Interpreting Service - see 'Where to apply' below.
Public sector employers (government departments, State agencies, Local Health Offices, local authorities, etc.) are obliged to facilitate the needs of their staff with disabilties. This means making assistive technology, adaptive equipment and facilities, aids, appliances and services available to their employees with disabilities.
If you are already a public sector employee and will be attending an interview within the public sector, you should be aware that public sector employers are obliged to ensure interpretation services are made available to you if you request them. You are therefore not entitled to claim the Job Interview Interpreter Grant.
If you are attending an interview or a number of interviews to become an employee in the public sector, you are entitled to apply for the Job Interview Interpreter Grant. You should be aware, however, that in advance of your interview, you will most likely be contacted by your prospective public sector employer and asked if you have any special needs. At this stage, you can request that interpreter services be made available to you or you can apply for the grant and arrange your own interpreter.
The Department of Social Protection will pay a fee as per the standard rate for a 3-hour period using a professionally qualified interpreter. Travel costs for the interpreter are paid at a set rate. Interpreter rates may vary. Rates will be differentiated between professionally qualified interpreters and others.
If you are attending a job interview, you should contact your local employment services office to obtain Part 1 (pdf) and Part 2 (pdf) of the Reasonable Accommodation Fund application form, which is also available online. Complete the application form (if you have any difficulties in completing the application form, the staff in your local employment services office will help you).
Bring your application form to the interview where it will be signed and stamped by the employer and your interpreter. When you return the signed and stamped application form to your local employment services office, the payment will be made directly to the interpreter.
Guidelines on the Job Interview Interpreter Grant (pdf) are available on welfare.ie.
If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.