We spend a lot of time sharing on this blog articles and ideas for how to job hunt during or post cancer treatment, because it is one of the main topics that people turn to us for help with. We’ve written a lot about how to address a gap in your work history specifically, which can come up in everything from resumes and cover letters to in-person interviews (see our article on The Swivel for more on fielding that question during an interview).
The “gap” question is probably the one that most often poses a challenge for cancer survivors during an interview. But there are all sorts of other questions that might trip you up if you haven’t spent time thinking about how to address them. Below are a few examples — plus some sample responses — to get you started. Of course there is no one-size-fits-all answer to any of them. We just want to get you thinking about how you might field some of the tricky ones.
“Are there any accommodations that you might need to meet the requirements of this job?”
- I'm sorry, I've never heard the term "reasonable accommodation." Would you please explain it, so I can get a sense of how to answer that question?
- Based on [your explanation and] the job description, there is nothing I can think of right now. but the fact that you asked gives me the sense that [company name] really cares about supporting employees. What else can you tell me about the company culture?
“When I Googled your name, an article came up in which you were interviewed about being diagnosed with cancer — are you still experiencing any problems or health needs?”
- Thank you for taking so much interest in me! I hope you also came across the blog post I wrote recently on best practices for marketing to millennials, because I believe we can use the Twitter approach I described to gain more customers in that demographic, by...[etc.].
- Thank you for taking so much interest in me! The opportunity to speak to the press gave me some incredible new skills that I think would be particularly relevant to this role, including X,Y, Z.
“Do you have any medical conditions I should know about?”
- I can’t think of anything that I think you should know about.
- No, there’s nothing you should know about.
“I noticed on your LinkedIn profile that you are a member of a lot of cancer-related groups. Are you a cancer survivor?”
- Like most people, I’ve been touched by cancer, and finding a way to give back is very important to me. Plus, all my volunteer work has afforded me the opportunity to develop some great skills that I believe would be applicable in this position, including X, Y, Z. I noticed the company is very involved in the Special Olympics. How did that become a priority? Will there be opportunities for someone in my role to participate?