Getting a job concerns

I've been job searching for quiet a while now and one thing that scares me the most when getting an interview is will they figure out I'm diabetic. I know it is an invisible illness (besides my pump) but I am still scared. It is my belief that no one wants a diabetic on their staff for insurance or miss day reasons. More then anything I feel completely dishonest going into a job interview and then having to spring on them AFTER all the paper work is filled out that I am diabetic.

I just want to know how others deal with this or if it has even crossed their mind?

I don't think I have ever disclosed that I am diabetic at an interview either. And most people aside from in the health care field don't really know what it entails, most just think you can't eat sugar. Personally I don't feel that diabetes influences my ability to do my job, so they don't need to know. I don't think it is something that needs to be disclosed, I know that technically they can't not higher you because of it but I wouldn't take the risk. However, after being hired it is important to tell at least one person you work with just for your safety more than anything else.


They can't NOT hire you because of your diabetes. You also don't have to tell them you have diabetes in the interview, unless they ask you if you have any medical conditions that may cause you to miss a shift once in a while or may mean you need to some assistance, etc etc. It's not really a disability or anything, but I usually explain that I have Type 1, which means that once in a while I may need to take an extra break to deal with a low or go to the doctors(which they are suppose to give you time to do anyways..I usually use my lunch break since I go to medical appointments like once a week between my endo, gyno, family doc, and physio).


There's no reason why you can't tell them after they have hired you. I worked for my company in the box office and as an usher before getting the admin job in teh office after i finished school..they didn't know me well, except my two managers so none of them knew I had diabetes. I told my boss after I got offered the job and took it...and they barely blinked an eye about it. It's not something that will effect your work except for occasionally you have to treat a low.


I wouldn't worry about it at all. And not telling them in the interview is not dishonest unless they straight out ask you "do you have any medical conditions we should be aware of" and you say "no."

My dad and I talked this over before I went on any job interviews.  He advised me not to tell them during the interview, because he didn't want that to be a deciding factor in whether or not I would get the job (legally they can't not hire you because of it, but I'm sure that some people do take that into consideration).

If I were you, I wouldn't feel bad, because it's not being dishonest.  The interview is there to put your best credentials out there and for you to see if it is a work environment you would enjoy.

The JDRF has an article on their website that talks about interviewing and whether to tell the potential employer that you have diabetes:


Hi! In a previous job they found out that I had diabetes right away because I needed to make sure their insurance plan covered pre existing conditions. It seemed like a strange question to ask them, but I still got hired. However, about a year later I developed retinopathy and lost a lot of time going to Johns Hopkins for laser treatment. One day, they said they needed to let me go and gave me no reason for it. I know it is because I was missing time, because I know I was doing a good job and got along with everyone. I don't think diabetes will stop you from getting a job, but there are definitely lots of uncompassionate people in the world.

A few years ago, after being laid off from my position, I was sent to a career counseling firm. They helped me with with everything job related.  I asked them about whether I should inform any interviewers I had diabetes. They recommended that I should not volunteer that type of information.  Once hired I told my new boss and co-workers, just in case something did happen, that I had T1 and gave them a short course on what the disease was and how to treat me if I did have a hypoglycemic reaction or pass out. They were really appreciative, and make it a point to bring in something for me during our monthly birthday/cake celebration. This is especially kind since I also have Celiec disease and can't anything with Gluten - which is in anything and everything worth eating.  My recommendation to you, is simple, if they don't ask don't tell.  Saying that, if you are planning to be in a position where the diabetes can impact your job performance then by all means disclose, ie law inforcement, fire and rescue etc.  I can't overstate that I am a true believer in full discloser once hired, not only for you safety but for the peace of mind of your new co-workers.  Good luck!


Actually, most employers are not allowed to ask about medical conditions during an interview.  If they ask, you can simply reply that you prefer not to answer, and that they are not supposed to ask such questions.  It's illegal, and anybody who works in human resources should know it.  Because diabetes will not impact your ability to do most jobs, it is honestly none of their business.  You might have sick days, but so might anybody else, and we need not be discriminated against just because we already have a diagnosis.

Also, as of January 1, 2009, diabetes is officially always considered a disability for purposes of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination in hiring for those who have disabilities.  Congress passed an amendment to clarify that they meant to extend broad protection to those who have serious, life-altering medical conditions.  Previously, diabetes was covered, but only when it interfered with a "major life activity."  The new amendment to the act clarifies that major bodily functions, including endocrine functions, are considered major life activities.  Which makes sense to me - I can't live without insulin, I can't eat without testing, and those seem like Major Life Activities to me.  So don't hesitate to assert your rights.

Though I agree: hide your pump during the interview, and tell your boss after your hired.  If you're let go or start to suffer any kind of disadvantage and you believe it's because of your condition, start making a record of what they do and say to you - write it down, and get legal advice.

First of all, I'm pretty sure that a company isn't allowed to discriminate against you because you're a diabetic. It honestly wasn't even an afterthought when I was interviewing for the job I have now. Most corporations have different insurance plans and you can choose which one best fits your lifestyle/prescription expenses. Whether or not you are a diabetic will not influence whether they hire you or not because you're ultimately paying for whatever health insurance coverage you select straight out of your paycheck.

Personally, I've experienced nothing but understanding from the management where I work when I have to leave for endocrinologist or eye appointments. My advice would be to relax and not worry about it. It's just something else that sets you apart from everyone else applying for that job. If they do ask about it, try to say how it has helped you plan things out and manage your life, or whatever happy catch phrases HR recruiters like to hear...although I doubt they'll question your pump. Most people don't even know that it is a pump. Mine is mistaken for a cell phone or MP3 player more than anything else.

So again, don't worry about it as much and good luck with your interviews!


Looks like people have pretty well answered the question with a lot of helpful info. I just thought I'd add the experience I had when I actually told a prospective employer about my diabetes in an interview.

I'm still in college, and last semester was looking for a job that would get me some office experience. Since I don't have much previous experience, and this is a small town with loads of college kids, I had a hard time even finding a listing. Finally, I landed an interview. When asked the "is there anything else I should know" question,  I answered that I have type 1 diabetes, which I doubted would be a problem that would effect my work. The interview had been going well up until then, I thought. However, after that it took an unsettling turn. The employer was a former nurse whose ex-husband is diabetic. She told me all about him, that he had poor control and suffered a lot of serious lows. This led her to essentially accuse me of being incapable of taking care of myself, or of performing a job answering phones and sending faxes.

She said that if I were to be employed at her company, I would have to test my blood sugar in front of her. This made me uncomfortable, especially since her manner was condescending. Timidly, I said that sounded a little extreme. I had told her earlier in the interview that I plan to take a paralegal certification after graduating; now following my minor reluctance to let her micromanage my disease, she said that if I thought she was pushy, then I wouldn't be able to work for a lawyer.

I wasn't sure if it was appropriate or even legal for her to make those demands, let alone to insult my trustworthiness. A friend has since mentioned to me that it's illegal for an employer to tell a pregnant employee what to eat, so it should be illegal for an employer to treat me in a a similar manner.

Suffice to say, the little remainder of the interview went poorly, as I was nervous and upset. I didn't get the job, supposedly because other candidates had more experience. I can't say I'm sorry not to be working for that person. I don't know if I would have landed the job had not the whole diabetes lecture happened. It seems that had she found out later, she might have been even more overbearing and demanding.

In the future, I won't be mentioning my disease in interviews. I don't see it as a total liability, since I find that when I tell people I'm diabetic it can function both as an ice breaker and litmus test. But I've learned now that it's also important to set professional boundaries.

It's illegal to not hire somebody solely because they are diabetic.  Sounds like your interviewer discriminated against you in the most classic sense: based on one piece of information (your medical condition) she made lots of assumptions about your life, your lifestyle, and your abilities.  Her behavior was definitely against the law (specifically, the Americans with Disabilities Act).  Because she treated you like you were disabled, her behavior was illegal (even if you didn't consider yourself disabled at the time).

Most reasonable people will not react in such a ridiculous fashion after you tell them you are diabetic, and it does sound like you're lucky to not be working for her.  And what she said about lawyers was ridiculous - I'm graduating from law school soon, and have spent lots of time working with lawyers, and they're generally nice and reasonable people.  They have families and medical conditions too. 

There's no need to tell interviewers in interviews - it's perfectly ethical to tell them on your first day at the office.  Sorry you had such a bad experience, but it sounds like you learned some valuable stuff in the process.