According to the most recent disabled people in employment report, in the UK, 1 in 5 people of working-age reported they were disabled. Despite this disabled people have an employment rate that has remained around 30% lower than people who are not disabled for more than a decade, which is often described as the Disability Employment Gap.
Disabled people face barriers that are stopping them from entering the workplace, with the recruitment process often being one of the initial hurdles. From difficulty accessing and viewing job adverts, access needs not being met at the interview stage, as well the fear that they will be discriminated against because they have a disability. Kaleidoscope Group, a platform and team of experts working to empower disability through business, provides eight steps on how companies can make their recruitment process more accessible and inclusive for disabled people.
Ensure Your Hiring Staff Have Disability Awareness Training
Ensure all staff, especially the hiring staff, have had disability awareness and inclusion training. Unconscious bias can come into play when assessing or interviewing applicants who have disabilities, but by providing the appropriate training you can reduce the likelihood of discrimination. Training can also avoid staff unintentionally offending disabled applicants through inappropriate language and etiquette.
If you are looking to use a recruiter, it is important that they understand the disability employment market.
Apply to the Disability Confident Employment Scheme
The government’s Disability Confident employer scheme helps companies become more confident about employing people with disabilities, allowing employers to understand disability better, along with the reasonable adjustments they need to make.
Once signed up, you can include the badge on your job adverts, showing potential applications your commitment to supporting people with disabilities.
Be Clear you Want a Diverse Workforce
If you want a diverse workforce, emphasise this in your job adverts. Disabled people may be put off applying for jobs over concerns their accessibility needs won’t be met during the interview process, so make sure your job adverts let prospective applications know you offer adjustments to disabled applicants where needed.
Make Your Job Adverts Accessible
It is important that people with disabilities can read and engage with your company’s job adverts. If any part of your company’s recruitment journey is inaccessible, then you will risk not attracting applicants with disabilities who may be suitable for the role.
Make sure your advert is on a website that is compatible with screen readers, as without this your ad will be inaccessible to some applicants, such as those with sight impairment. You should also make sure applicants can access the information in different formats such as audio format, braille, and large print.
Allow Applicants to Apply in Different Formats
Traditional applications can exclude many disabled people, so it is important to allow for a mix of formats people can apply in, to meet everyone’s needs efficiently. Some people may struggle with an entirely online application, whereas others may find video options a better way to get themselves across.
You should be open to accepting applications in alternative formats such as online, word document, paper document, transcribed from a phone call, completed on behalf of the applicant by supporter and video.
Guarantee Interviews for Disabled People Who Meet Minimum Criteria
Employers who have reached level 2 or 3 of the Disability Confident employer scheme should offer an interview to all disabled applicants who meet the minimum criteria for the job. The commitment aims is to encourage positive action, encouraging disabled people to apply for jobs and provide an opportunity to demonstrate their skills at the interview stage.
Make the Interview Accessible
Ahead of the interview process, ask every applicant if they have any access requirements. Making any required adjustments will ensure applicants are not unfairly disadvantaged and have a fair chance of showcasing their skills and knowledge for the role.
The pandemic has also taught us that video calls can be effective, so consider if a face-to-face interview is necessary. Or perhaps look to provide a project for applicants to complete or carry out a working interview instead of a more formal interview.
Re-consider Any Interview Tests
If your interview process involves tests, consider if they are necessary or if it is possible to assess applications suitability in a more accessible way. If it is necessary, ensure they do not place applicants with disabilities at a disadvantage, such as timed written tests could disadvantage dyslexic applicants. Consider if it is necessary to time the test, or if suitability for the role can be demonstrated another way.
Michael Green, Head of Marketing at Kaleidoscope Group comments:
“Every person can bring unique talent to your business and disabled entrepreneurs and individuals have an amazing perspective on life, with valuable skills that can make a difference to how the job is delivered and how your business performs. Their skills can drive sales now and tomorrow and you could and should be achieving more through empowering ambition and awareness in your business.”