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University graduate rejected for up to 100 jobs

Vision-impaired university graduate rejected for up to 100 jobs over five years in Sydney.  A 31-year-old university graduate,  Conor Smith from Sydney, has revealed he spent five years job hunting and was rejected for up to 100 jobs, exposing a ‘shocking’ problem.

Sydney man Conor Smith knows full well how a job interviewer’s tone can change when they learn he is blind.

The 31-year-old university graduate spent five years job hunting – longer than he has spent working – and felt he was not valued by potential employers, despite being more than capable of the jobs he was applying for.

“They know full well they can’t say we can’t hire you because you’re blind, so you usually just get a, ‘You’ve been unsuccessful’,” Mr Smith, now a project officer with Blind Citizens Australia, said.

Mr Smith estimates he has applied for probably 60 to 100 jobs, but the rejections made applying feel pointless as he kept being thrown in the “too hard basket”.

“In one interview I made a point of not saying anything about my blindness because I wanted them to evaluate me for me before I told them,” he said.

“At the end after it all went well, I said: ‘By the way, I just wanted to let you I am actually blind’.

“It turned from a very chipper interview to ‘Oh well, if we had have known that’. That was at least the tone.”

Mr Smith’s experience is not uncommon, with a new survey revealing half of Aussie employers have never considered hiring a blind or low vision person.

The Vision Australia-commissioned survey into employment attitudes found many businesses believed vision impaired people would not be productive enough or cost too much money.

The survey interviewed 1003 employers during April and found 49 per cent never thought about hiring someone vision impaired.

Most – 92 per cent – had concerns about hiring a blind person, citing risks, doubts about productivity, financial concerns and doubts about the ability of other staff members to work with or manage them.

Only 30 per cent were willing to adapt the job requirement to suit a qualified person who was vision impaired, while 83 per cent were not confident in hiring them.

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Source: Melissa Iaria Careers 

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Melissa Iaria