At networking meetings, events and workshops, people ask me about how to make a recruitment process accessible. The dos and don’ts and the application process. I think sometimes these processes can sound a lot more complicated than they actually are. The word “Disability” can prohibit people from thinking outside the box. But a disabled applicant is an applicant like any other. When recruiting, you want to get the best out of your applicants to make sure the candidate you recruit is the best possible person for the role.
Below are 5 top tips for ensuring that the above takes place.
1. Find out where applicants hang out and go there.
In marketing, it is a well known strategy that in order to get to your target audience and sell them your product/service, you don’t wait for them to find you, you actively search for them. By understanding your audiences characteristics and personalities, you can tailor your sales and marketing strategy to what they can relate to. The same can be said for recruiting. Disabled people are no different. There are several places online where disabled people may research job opportunities. These may be the same but may also differ from your usual advertising efforts. Research these and advertise there.
2. Engaging and transparent job ads.
When I say engaging, I don’t necessarily mean pretty pictures and bright colours – although these can help. What I mean is using language that engages your potential disabled applicants and candidates. Understanding language and tone of voice that helps disabled people feel valued can make all the difference.
Talk about your organisational values, beliefs and mission when it comes to equality and inclusion. Explaining why these are important to you as an organisation.
3. Arranging the interview.
Often, a disabled person may not be confident to tell a potential employer about a disability. This may be due to fear of rejection, discrimination or that they simply do not see it as relevant. Similarly an employer may not know to ask. I would suggest that the employer takes ownership of this. There is nothing worse than a candidate turning up for an interview and finding that they cannot access the building, that there is no hearing loop or that there is a computer provision test for a person who requires assistive technology.
However, asking if somebody is disabled would not be appropriate. An appropriate alternative to this would be:
“Are there any access requirements you would like to make us aware of?”
This way, the candidate has the opportunity to inform you of anything they need without disclosing their disability. A personal example for me as a wheelchair user would be; a room that has step-free access and an accessible toilet.
If possible, offering several possible dates for a candidate to choose from will help ensure that any support that needs to be sorted by the candidate can be arranged in advance. My series of 12 Inclusion Videos take you through these steps.
4. Non-traditional interviewing methods.
The traditional route of interviewing is not always the best for getting the most out of potential candidates. Many organisations have adopted different styles in order to test their candidate’s strengths. This may include psychometric testing or assessment centres.
Whichever method you choose, this should not only reflect the role that is being recruited but also allows for varying disabilities. For example, if you are interviewing an autistic person, asking situational questions may present a challenge but offering them a task based interview may demonstrate what the candidate is capable of. In her podcast interview, Natalie talks about this.
5. Suggested Dos & Don’ts.
- Be open minded
- Be empathetic
- Be as clear as possible
- Ask about workplace adjustments at the interview
- Make assumptions
- Change the interview format at the last minute
Esi (pronounced SE) set up Celebrating Disability in 2017; offering training, consulting and auditing to support businesses attract, engage and retain disabled people. Having the opportunity to support businesses to see the wealth of benefits that disabled people can bring to business, either as customers or employees is a privilege. She is passionate about disability equality and inclusion and loves nothing more than that “Ah ha” moment with a client when they see what disability equality and inclusion can do for them.
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