Job-Related Disclosure: What You Should Know

The job search process involve a variety of challenges and tricky situations. One thing you may need to consider if you are seeking a new position is whether to make a disclosure at some point.

What is a Disclosure?

The term “disclosure” refers to sharing personal or medical information about yourself in a job-related setting, such as on an application or during a job interview.

Common types of disclosures include information related to a disability or health condition, military/veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, or racial/ethnic identity.

Should You Make a Disclosure?

Before thinking about when or how to make a disclosure, you first should consider whether you need or want to share that information at all. It some cases, it may be necessary or to your advantage, such as if it helps ensure the employer can arrange any needed accommodations they are required to provide.

How and when to provide disclosures — if you choose to do so at all — is your decision. However, in some cases, this information may be accessible or obvious to an employer, whether or not you disclose. An example would be clues an employer may be able to glean from your résumé if, for example, you have served in leadership roles in cultural organizations or groups geared towards specific populations.  

Disclosures and the Law

In the United States, interviewers are legally prohibited from asking questions about your age, citizenship, sexuality, gender identities, and racial identifies, among other things. However, some interviewers may not be familiar with the law or may try to circumvent it by hinting at topics they cannot directly ask about, so it can be helpful to be prepared if you should encounter these situations.

A Helpful Resource

Penn State World Campus Student Affairs has created a series of videos to help you learn more about disclosures and explore possible scenarios you might encounter.

Our video series on job-related disclosures provides information and tips on topics such as:

  • how to handle inappropriate or illegal questions
  • when disclosure might be to your advantage (and when it might not)
  • ways to reframe questions to steer the discussion in a positive direction
  • how disclosures can be used to highlight your strengths and experience
  • tips for deciding if a job or company is the right fit for you

Review our video series to find out more about job-related disclosures.