There is a strong business case for hiring people with disabilities. By employing someone with a disability, employers are building and retaining a team that best reflects the community around them.
Employees with a disability add value to teams by bringing a range of skills, talents and abilities that the traditional workforce may not have.
People with disabilities have a right to work and to enjoy equal rights and opportunities to participate in economic, social and cultural life and to enable them to reach their full potential.
The Equality Employment Acts 1998-2015 prohibit discrimination under nine grounds in employment, including vocational training and work experience.
Employers may not discriminate against employees or prospective employees on the basis of any of the nine grounds, including disability. In the Employment Equality Acts the definition of discrimination focuses on whether a person has been treated less favourably in the workplace than another person in a similar situation on any of the nine grounds, including disability.
A diverse and inclusive company employs people with disabilities. However, many employers worry that they aren’t equipped to include people with disabilities in their recruitment process.
To help alleviate those fears, below is a six step inclusive recruitment toolkit.
Six steps to inclusive recruitment
This is the first step in any recruitment process and the best way to ensure a good job-individual match. By analysing the job, we’re getting up to date information about the core functions of the job, how it is organised, the environment and the qualifications required. Don’t forget - a job analysis describes the job, not the individual who fills it. It also helps to ensure you have the support of senior and middle management to guarantee success. They play a key role in decision making and influence the company’s approach. To encourage the employment of people with disabilities, develop a competency based job description
Flexibility in how someone can apply for the role is a key positive action for people with disabilities. Jobseekers and employers rely heavily on online recruitment, so make sure your hiring site is accessible for all.
- Welcome applications from people with disabilities by stating that you accommodate the needs of candidates with disabilities.
- Provide an alternative means for people with disabilities to contact the company to request accommodations at interview.
- If you are unsure how to provide the accommodation, seek help to find out.
- Make sure the job information is available in accessible formats, if requested.
- Allow applicants with a disability as much time as they need to fill in forms, if they are timed.
- If you are using a recruitment agency, have you assessed its ability to accommodate potential candidates with disabilities?
- Contact disability organisations and supported employment schemes to encourage applications from diverse communities.
At this stage, applicants with disabilities are often screened out of the process. Their CVs and applications look different to other applicants and they may have gaps, less work experience and alternative qualifications.
- Remember that people with disabilities are creative thinkers, problem solvers and exceptionally resilient.
- Take into consideration that they have had to navigate their lives and work in a different, and often more difficult way than their peers without disabilities.
- When shortlisting, consider stating that applicants who meet the qualification requirements and have disclosed a disability on their CV or application form will be automatically invited to interview. This will communicate your commitment to inclusion and encourage the disclosure of a disability
Some companies use assessment centres and online testing. These tools can be a barrier to applicants with disabilities, in particular non-visible disabilities. Consider whether you can waive this requirement for applicants with a disability. A work trial or placement may be a better way to assess the abilities of applicants with disabilities.
- Ensure that the testing location and materials are accessible for all types of disability, including neurodiverse applicants, specific learning difficulties like dyslexia and those with sensory and physical disabilities.
- Make sure the test or assessment is flexible and accessible to people with all types of disabilities. Ask the test developer if unsure and consider if assistive technology is required.
- Consider using other measures of assessment to evaluate applicants. Decisions based only on these results won’t ensure a diverse mix of candidates.
The main purpose of an interview is to establish whether applicants have the skills and capability to do the essential and core elements of the job. You don’t need to change your interview process – just ensure it is competency based to get the best result.
- Members of the interview panel should be appropriately trained in disability awareness.
- Ask all candidates the same open and direct questions about their ability to perform the functions of the role.
- Don’t concentrate on the disability or how it may impact at work. Focus on the ability of the candidate.
- Be open-minded as to how the job can be done – people with disabilities will approach tasks differently.
There are financial support grants available and the Employers For Change team are always here to help you make your workplace a more inclusive and understanding place.
- More supports can be found on our Inclusive Recruitment links page