They say honesty is the best policy. Susan Sanderson agrees, especially when it comes to job interviews. People on both sides of the table should reveal their needs and wants to find the best fit for both employer and potential employee.
“I think there are a lot of employers who feel uncomfortable about meeting and considering employees who have disabilities,” says Susan Sanderson, Director of Human Resources and Administration at Variety Village. “If we can help in some way to show that it’s not scary and there are lots of things that are doable. It’s just a matter of giving people a chance, listening to what they have to say and not being afraid to ask them questions.”
For Variety Village, that meant listening to Victor Pereira, one of the Season two job seekers on Employable Me. Susan says his first interview with her—to discuss a volunteer assistant basketball coach position—didn’t go so well, but his enthusiasm and passion won her over. Victor returned for a second chat and hit the floor for a practical exercise to see how he interacted with kids in a basketball setting. He scored big-time.
The sophomore season of Employable Me provides an honest and emotional look at the challenges Canadians of varying abilities face in the job market. Each one-hour episode spotlights two job seekers who are blind, partially sighted or have a neurological condition such as Tourette Syndrome or Autism Spectrum Disorder as they embark on a journey to possible employment.
Gavin O’Sullivan, a job seeker who is blind, landed a position at Xtreme Couture. Once there, general manager Jason Gaudette realized the tasks he’d originally earmarked weren’t going to play to Gavin’s strengths. Manning the gym’s reception desk and welcoming customers or checking them in on a computer didn’t make sense logistically due to Gavin’s blindness. So, Jason used Gavin’s musical gift and a generous donation from a gym member.
“He’s got a keyboard and table set up in the lobby and he plays keyboard for the members,” Jason says. “People have grown to really appreciate it and look forward to the days that Gavin is in.”
Keywords: AMI, AMI-tv, Employable Me, Season two, Variety Village, Victor, Susan Sanderson, Xtreme Couture, Jason Gaudette