Navigating the twists and turns of the job-hunting process can be pretty daunting for anyone. In instances where you are judged by your appearance from the moment you walk into an interview, having a syndrome where your difference is practically written across your face can be particularly challenging. Individuals with Moebius syndrome, however, are as capable and competent in the workforce as anyone else.
Here are some common questions regarding the job search:
Should I disclose that I have Moebius syndrome?
This can be tricky. Honestly, you should try to read the room during the interview. If you get the feeling that the interviewer is struggling to understand what you are saying, or if you feel like they may be curious, feel free to mention Moebius syndrome. Mentioning Moebius while answering a question about yourself is another option.
Ex. Interviewer: Tell me about a time when you overcame a challenge.
You: Well, I have a condition called Moebius syndrome that limits my facial expressions. I’ve had to learn to adapt and live my life a little differently, but have still achieved X, Y, and Z.
Will employers totally overlook my qualifications due to Moebius syndrome?
Generally, an employer wants to find quality employees that can add value to their team. Legally, they cannot overlook your qualifications due to Moebius syndrome. This is why it is so important try to feel confident with your job skills and what you can bring to the company when you interview. You want to sell yourself to them. This concern of being overlooked is another example of why it can sometimes be beneficial to disclose that you have Moebius syndrome during your interview.
Ex. Interviewer: What can you offer to our company?
You: Describe your strengths (what skills you have/positive personality traits).
How can I compensate for the lack of facial expressions and/or inability to smile?
First, it’s important to understand that Moebius affects everyone differently, so there is no all-in-one answer. The key here is to figure out how you want to express yourself. In my experience, body languages, vocal inflection, and humor can do wonders for your interview. Bring out that confidence in a way that’s comfortable for you.
Ex. Make sure your handshake is firm and just the right length, and crack an appropriate joke when you meet the hiring manager.
I am very self-conscious about my *appendage(s)* that is affected by Moebius syndrome. What can I wear to my interview that will not draw attention to something I am self-conscious about?
Traditionally, it is important to dress appropriately for your interview. Typically, you should dress in either business casual or business attire, depending on where you are interviewing. In fast food/retail, business casual is appropriate. In a mid-level career job interview, business attire is recommended. As far as wearing attire that will not draw attention to something you are self-conscious about, go for simple.
Ex. If you are self-conscious about your hands/fingers, you can wear something that has long sleeves. This is actually recommended for most interviews, anyway.
I believe I am a strong candidate in job interviews, however, I seem to not be getting any calls back after I interview. What can I do?
First of all, you are not alone in feeling this way. Job hunting is a numbers game. In reality, you’ll probably have to apply to numerous jobs before you find some luck. For those of us with Moebius, we tend to feel like our lack of job prospects can be attributed to us having Moebius. Do not get discouraged if this happens! There are important things you can do after an interview to make yourself stand out. Sending a Thank You Letter, thanking the interviewer for the interview is important. This will keep you fresh in their mind after the interview. Making a follow up call after the interview is also very appropriate. When calling, be sure to speak clearly and tell them your name and that you are calling to check the status of your application and see where you are in the interview process.
Attempting to find a job can be a daunting task for anyone. While having Moebius Syndrome might make the job hunt a little more challenging, there are ways to navigate the journey. Good luck!
Steven Maldonado is a 31 year old male with Moebius syndrome living in Ohio. He has a Masters in Business Administration from Texas A&M University. Currently, he serves on the MSF Board of Directors, where he is fulfilling a lifelong goal of helping others with Moebius syndrome. Feel free to reach out to him with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org