Inclusive Recruitment

Part 1

Accessibility Tick
Inclusive group of people

Inclusion

Although this module focuses on accessibility needs, many of the principles apply to other diversity groups, including race and gender.

Module Contents

This module covers standard recruitment processes:

  1. Job descriptions
  2. Job promotion
  3. Application process
  4. Interview premises
  5. Pre-employment tests
  6. Shortlisting candidates
  7. Interview process

After you have completed the training there is a 5 question quiz to test your knowledge.

1. Job descriptions

Job descriptions should be reviewed to remove any unnecessary barriers.

Peanuts comic. Lucy asks I've always wondered why you decided to be a dog. Snoopy answers I was fooled by the job description

List key skills which are truly necessary. Other skills should be listed as desirable. It is often these latter skills which exclude people with access needs.

1. Job descriptions

Ideally, people with an understanding of accessibility needs should review the job description. Unconscious bias is likely to cause you to leave unnecessary requirements in the job description.

For example: Your warehousing staff all have drivers licences, but they do not drive for their job. Is it still necessary to have a drivers licence to work in this role?

1. Job descriptions

Make sure job descriptions and advertisements are written in plain language which is appropriate for the level of education and literacy needed for the job.

For example, an advertisement for a cleaner or forklift driver should not be written with university level language.

1. Job descriptions

Make sure others can understand the text by using a free readability checker to check the reading level.

Actor Mark Wahlberg looking confused

2. Job Advertisements

If you have few people with access needs applying for roles, it may be because you are advertising in places where they are less likely to find the advertisement.

Think about promoting roles through different channels, including directly to disability support organisations and employment agencies that work directly with people with access needs.

2. Job Advertisements

A general diversity statement is not usually sufficient because people with accessibility needs may not think this means them.

Text says come in we're open. Images of sign language, braille, and a wheelchair.

You should specifically mention that you encourage applications from people with accessibility needs.

2. Job Advertisements

Offer recruitment materials such as company information booklets, handouts, and applications, in alternative formats (e.g. electronic text and large print copies).

2. Job Advertisements

Provide online access to the company's reasonable accommodations policy including a plain text version.

Designate one or more staff members to receive accommodation requests and provide their contact information to all applicants.

2. Job Advertisements

Provide alternative contact details for job advertisements.

If a telephone number is provided, include a TDD (telecommunication device for the deaf) number, email address, and/or other means of contact (e.g. Skype address).

2. Job Advertisements

Perform an inventory of external, internal, and social media platforms used for recruiting purposes with your technology staff to ensure that all sites are accessible.

Collage of 6 social media icons including YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, Snapchat, and Facebook.

3. Application Process

Make online application processes fully accessible to individuals who use screen readers or other adaptive technology, or provide a clearly indicated text only version.

If the entire application process is made easy for the candidate it can set them at ease. A poor process is not only bad for the candidate but reinforces biased stereotypes within the organisation.

3. Application Process

Inform applicants in all recruitment materials that accommodations can be provided upon request, ideally arranged before the candidate arrives for interview, and clearly display notice of how to obtain reasonable accommodations. 

Icons of a wheelchair, sign language, braille, and a telephone

4. Interview premises

Highlight the accessible features of the site in advertisements and when scheduling an interview

  • Include path of travel into and within building, restrooms, level surfaces, parking spaces, clear directional signage, and receptivity to service animals.  
  • Doors should be at least 91.5 cm (36 in) wide
  • Disability parking spaces provide access space for vans with lifts that open on the side.

4. Interview premises

If participating in a career expo, liaise with organisers regarding site accessibility (as per previous slide).  Specifically, ensure adequate room between tables or stalls for alternative modes of mobility.

If the site is not fully accessible, be prepared to offer an alternate accessible location, and notify potential applicants in advance.  

5. Pre-employment tests

  • Inform applicants ahead of time if they will be required to take a test.
  • Describe the test format so that they can request a reasonable accommodation if necessary. This may include providing more time to complete a test.
  • Check that the test is accessible by screen readers and other adaptive technology.

6. Shortlisting Candidates

Ideally you would have at least two people shortlisting candidates so they can challenge each other’s assumptions.

Icons of a wheelchair, sign language, braille, and a telephone

6. Shortlisting Candidates

When considering candidates with access needs you should be careful to avoid the access need becoming an issue

Although you don’t want to exclude a qualified candidate because of an access need, nor do you want to hire a candidate who is not qualified just for the sake of diversity.

6. Shortlisting Candidates

If you are determined to hire someone with an access need, and there are no qualified candidates, you may be better to customise a role rather than putting forward a candidate who will not succeed.

Scissors cutting off the t in can't to make the phrase say I can.

6. Shortlisting Candidates

Organisations are increasingly using Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems to assist with shortlisting. Although appealing because it seems to cut out human unconscious bias, AI carries the risk of perpetuating historical biases

A robot looking at job candidates through a magnifying glass

Unless the AI has specific programming to give weight to diversity opportunities, it will not solve the bias issue.

7. Interview Process

  • All candidates proceeding to interview should be asked if they have any access requirements or require any adjustments to participate equitably in the interview process.
  • Let all candidates know how long the interview will be as they may need to arrange transport.

7. Interview Process

Consider alternatives to face to face interviews (such as task-based assessments or work trials) for candidates who may not be able to demonstrate their skills as well verbally.

Interview asks how would you describe yourself? Job candidate says verbally but I've also prepared a dance.

7. Interview Process

Ensure that any candidates with accessibility needs are accommodated proactively. For example:

  • Checking there is space for a wheelchair at the interview table
  • The Administration or front of house staff know how to guide a blind candidate to the room
  • Refreshments are easily accessible

7. Interview Process

In general, people with access needs should expect to have the same interview questions as other candidates and to be treated with the same respect.

The panel should be aware however that many people with access needs have had a history of unfair rejection. Showing them that you are only focused on their suitability for the role, and are not overly concerned about their access need, will set them at ease.

7. Interview Process

Feel comfortable about asking the candidate what accommodations, if any, they may require on the job. This discussion will, in many cases, make the panel more relaxed about the candidate’s access need being a relatively minor issue and will allow the candidate to be frank about what they will need.

Ideally you will want to anticipate making the accommodations before they start work so they can focus on learning the job.

7. Interview Process

  • Listen to what the individual has to offer. Do not make assumptions about what that person can or cannot do.
  • Focus on the essential job functions the candidate can perform, as well as the other skills and assets they bring to the position.
  • Avoid judging the applicant’s capabilities or speculating how you would perform a specific job if you had the applicant's disability.
  • If conversing with a person who uses a wheelchair, when possible, sit down to have the discussion at the person’s eye level.

7. Interview Process

  • Speak directly to the interviewee instead of to an interpreter, personal assistant, or other companion.
  • Use a normal tone of voice unless requested to alter the volume or speed.
  • Indicate the availability of flexible working conditions, including telecommuting or flexible scheduling.

7. Interview Process

Be careful not lean on or touch a person’s wheelchair or any other assistive device. A person’s assistive device is part of the person’s personal space, and it may be jarring or disturbing, or physically unsafe.

Image source A woman in a wheelchair looks surprised as someone leans on her chair's armrest. Text says Personal Space.

Questions

For each of the following 5 questions, select the answer you think fits best.

Question 1

When a person with access needs comes to a job interview:

  1. Treat them just like everyone else. Be sure not to draw attention to their access need.
  2. Be up-front about how you can accommodate their access need, and be sympathetic.
  3. Be up-front about how you can accommodate their access need, but focus on the skills and experience they bring.
  4. Treat them like everyone else, but make it clear you really respect their bravery.

Question 1 - Answer

When a person with access needs comes to a job interview:

3. Be up-front about how you can accommodate their access need, but focus on the skills and experience they bring

It is important to acknowledge your ability to accommodate their access need, but the interview is about their fit for the role, their skills, and their experience. So focus on those. They are not there for your sympathy. Well-meant sympathy reveals an unconscious assumption that this person is somehow lessened by their access need.

Question 2

When a person who has declared an access need is coming for a job interview:

  1. Ask them if they have any access requirements so you can make accommodations before they come and then accommodate those needs so the person is not made uncomfortable before the interview starts.
  2. Check their access needs when they arrive so you can respond to exactly what their need is on the day.
  3. Don’t overplay the access issue as it will make them uncomfortable. Let them raise any issues either before they come or at the interview. Then respond in an appropriate way.
  4. Develop a plan for all staff who will contact the person coming to the interview, to ensure everyone responds to the requirements of the person with the access need.

Question 2 - Answer

When a person who has declared an access need is coming for a job interview:

1. Ask them if they have any access requirements so you can make accommodations before they come and then accommodate those needs so the person is not made uncomfortable before the interview starts.

You do not want to turn the access need into a major issue, but it is up to you to demonstrate that you are proactive about providing accommodations. By asking the person before they come to interview you can ‘take the access issue off the table’ so it is not a problem on the day of the interview.

Question 3

When a new employee with an access need starts work:

  1. Allocate someone to work with them from day one to sort out any accommodations they need, so the new staff member can see you are committed to assisting them.
  2. Approach disability service providers to fund any accommodations required.
  3. Sort out accommodations required before they start work, so they are not disadvantaged when they arrive.
  4. All of the above.

Question 3 - Answer

When a new employee with an access need starts work:

3. Sort out accommodations required before they start work, so they are not disadvantaged when they arrive

The goal is to get the access need ‘off the table’ so the focus of induction can be on the new employee’s job role. Although service providers may assist with integrating the employee (and may help you to get some Government funding), the primary responsibility for funding reasonable accommodation is the employer’s.

Question 4

Employing someone with an access need:

  1. Is an opportunity to educate your staff and reduce biases.
  2. Can reinforce biases against people with access needs if the process is handled badly.
  3. Is likely to challenge your own unconscious biases during the interview process.
  4. All of the above.

Question 4 - Answer

Employing someone with an access need:

4. All of the above

Employing people with access needs can be a great opportunity for challenging your own biases and for reducing discriminatory behaviour among the team. But it is important to also manage the induction process so you don’t set the new employee up to fail.

Question 5

People with access needs:

  1. Have health problems but not so many that we should discriminate against them.
  2. Have a better attendance record, in general, than the workforce as a whole.
  3. Cannot be expected to contribute quite as much, but should be at work most of the time.
  4. All of the above.

Question 5 - Answer

People with access needs:

2. Have a better attendance record, in general, than the workforce as a whole.

Although some people with access needs have health problems, so do some of the rest of the workforce. Not all people with access needs have health problems. In general, people with access needs can contribute as much as anyone else. An Australian study found that people with disabilities were absent 85% less than colleagues without disabilities.

If you have any questions or need additional support, please get in touch!

Email: info@accessibilitytick.nz

Phone: 09 242 0511

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/accessibilitytick

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/a11ytick