I want to talk a bit about the hiring process. I’ve officially been hired at a company and have completed all of my documentation. For those with a service dog or curious about how the process differs with a service dog, this article is for you. I went through the application/interview process with three companies. I feel like I have a decent sense of what to expect and how it differed from the average experience. So here’s what you should know.
- When I Disclose
I like to tell companies during the interview process that I have a service dog. This is completely my personal preference. It does open the door for discrimination, so be aware of that. From my standpoint, I don’t have any interest in working for a company that would be willing to discriminate. I tell them when I feel comfortable so I don’t have to hold my breath later. You must disclose and start the accommodation process before you accept an offer per the ADA. I would completely understand if you waited until that point. It’s difficult for them to go back on their offer at that point. That would be openly admitting to discrimination.
- The Interview Process
Due to Covid, I only had one in person interview. I went back and forth about whether to bring Crush. In some ways, I felt it was foolish not to bring him. It would be harder and more stressful for me. In other ways, I didn’t want to worry about him being on his best behavior. Crush is excellent at his job but he’s not perfect. When I’m in a situation where I want to put my best foot forward, I don’t want to take chances. Ultimately, I brought him. The day of the interview, I did extensive training to ensure his best behavior. I did tons of positive reinforcement and lots of treats. He did great! The interviewers didn’t ask a single question about Crush. They only commented on how handsome he is and I don’t blame them. He is very handsome. My Can Do Canines friends mostly said they prefer not to bring their dog. It’s completely a preference thing and there is no right or wrong.
After you are hired, you begin the accommodation process. I started a bit beforehand. I got a call from human resources asking for a doctor’s note confirming his necessity. I chose to offer to send his certificate of training as well. I feel the need to overly supply information because I don’t want surprises down the line. All they’re required to have is a note from a medical professional. It must state you need the dog due to a medical condition. You have no need to supply the name of the condition.
Before you start applying for jobs, I would define how you want to go through the process. Have a plan for when you want to disclose. Decide whether you want to bring your dog for interviews. If you do, start training for that type of situation. That way, when you get an interview, you won’t be extra stressed. You may even want to reach out for your doctor’s note ahead of time, if you don’t have one already. This process can feel incredibly stressful. It’s not easy and you will likely face discrimination, as sad as that is. It’s completely dependent on the company and their discretion. Be aware that this type of treatment is illegal though and you have options to report them or take legal action.
I hope you’re having a great day. I hope your day is filled with joy, positivity, and laughter. I hope you find peace, love, and happiness.