When it comes to hiring, small changes to your recruitment process can enable your organization to attract persons with disabilities alongside other applicants.
While your organization can specifically target such candidates by working with local agencies, you can also start small by ensuring that your existing hiring practices attract all kinds of people.
According to the Conference Board of Canada’s accessibility toolkit, “From the perspective of potential applicants who have a disability, communicating clearly and publicly about the availability of accommodations in the recruitment process sends a powerful signal that their candidacy is welcome.”
In other words, accessibility is about showing that you are a welcoming organization. But where to start? One great place to begin is by making sure your recruitment process sends a clear message that you welcome people with disabilities to work with you. Here are three practical ways to do so.
1. Include a note in all job ads you post — perhaps something along the lines of, “We welcome applications from persons with disabilities. Let us know how we can accommodate you to participate in the recruitment process.”
2. When you call or email someone for an interview, offer accommodation. You can say something like “We’re excited to get to know you in this interview. Is there anything we can do to accommodate you to participate?” I’ve said this for years. Most candidates have no requests. A few others have asked me for accommodations such as, “Will my motorized wheelchair fit through the door of your interview room?” or “If there are any written materials, can I have them in a large font?” The important thing to remember is that the candidates themselves are the experts on what they need. I didn’t need any special knowledge of disabilities to accommodate these requests — I only had to make it clear that I wanted people to feel welcome.
3. Say it again, if and when you offer the job. Once again, employees are the experts in what they need, and ensuring they are welcome and comfortable will mean that they are present, equipped, and engaged in their work. It may even be the law in your jurisdiction, and data shows that the vast majority of accommodations fall in the accessible price range of $1 to $500 per employee.
With these simple changes, you’re on your way to attracting a larger talent pool with much to offer your organization.