I have an interview coming up and I just found out that I'm going to need surgery in one of my hands. I work in IT, so my hand's health impacts how fast I write code. As far as I know, I'll need one day for surgery, but after that I'll just have to endure about 4 weeks of recovery until I'm cleared by the doctor.

Since I obviously want to work and have one hand available to work with, should I mention to my interviewer that I'm going to need a day off for surgery and that I'll be conditioned during the recovery period?

  • 2
    I'm not sure it's a good idea to bring this up unless the injury is obvious somehow... and I've known a fairly large number of programmers who couldn't touch-type; that' does pie a challenge but often the thing that really takes time is sculpting the algorithm rather than keying it in.
    – keshlam
    Oct 9, 2015 at 3:06
  • How long would you actually be in recovery and unable to attend the office? If that's only the one day and I'm assuming you have another hand that still works, then it's not worth mentioning. The other question is, how long after the expected commencement date is the surgery scheduled? The first day? First week?
    – Jane S
    Oct 9, 2015 at 4:07
  • @JaneS From what I understood, I will have to be away from the office the day of the surgery. After that, I'll have one hand that I can't use for 4 weeks due to recovery. After those 4 weeks I should be cleared. The surgery is not scheduled yet, but it should happen in the 1st month of the job.
    – m-oliv
    Oct 10, 2015 at 22:19

3 Answers 3


I'd go one over on the others and say it's vital that you mention it. It's something that will seriously impact your work performance, maybe even your ability to work at all. Not mentioning it may be seen as hiding a condition that makes you incapable of doing your job during the interview process, which at least here is reason for summary dismissal and possibly lawsuits for damages.
Given that you can reasonably suspect the condition will last for a few weeks only, if you communicate that clearly the company may decide to let you start after that time, or to assign you different duties for those weeks (tbh, unless you're going to be using public transport for your commute I'd advise you to not even want to travel during those weeks, driving a car or bike with a hand that's seriously restricted is dangerous and if you get into an accident may lead to criminal charges against you).


4 weeks worth of reduced productivity is a very important thing to make sure your employer understands. You want to make sure:

  1. You don't surprise your employer right off the bat.
  2. You don't cause your employer to be disappointed with the quality of your work for reasons outside of your control, such as the medical procedure you mention.

As such, you should make sure your employer understands what's going on before you start, but it's not worth mentioning at interview time.

Interviews are there for understanding whether you have the skills and attributes necessary for the job, and are a relatively early stage in the hiring process. Temporary conditions should have no bearing on the decisions at interview time. Since there's no guarantee you will get the position, you don't need to disclose medical issues, just as you don't need to disclose time off you may need when you interview.

That being said, it would show good faith to bring it up if you get an offer, and before you accept. That way, they know what's coming before they hire you.

  • 2
    Also, consider ideas for how you can still be valuable and productive, even with reduced typing ability. How about code review / troubleshooting, learning new software, conducting training in your area(s) of expertise, etc. Oct 9, 2015 at 12:03
  • Another thought: consider offering to take vacation time* (or unpaid time off) during part or all of your recovery, as a demonstration of good faith (and also making sure you rest and recover properly). *Even though you wouldn't yet have officially earned vacation time, there might be a way to work it out. Oct 9, 2015 at 12:08
  • @Careerasaurus.com Regarding other ways to be valuable and productive beyond coding speed, that's a great point. Mind if I add that to my answer?
    – S. Grey
    Oct 10, 2015 at 4:57
  • Thank you @S.Grey. Sure, you're welcome to add that to your answer. Oct 11, 2015 at 15:47

I don't think it would in anyway affect your job prospects with the company. Yes, companies look for people who can start ASAP, but they don't let go of people whom they believe would add value.

So, in my opinion, mention about the injury, but make sure you manage to impress the interviewer with your algorithmic and technical knowledge skills, rather than your fast coding skills.

Companies definitely prefer coders who can write good code, over coders who can code fast.

So, if you are good at what you do, then the company can definitely wait/tolerate your coding speed for 4 weeks, over hiring a mediocre fast coder.

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