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 candidates with disabilities by working with local agencies, you can also start small by ensuring your existing hiring practices attract all kinds of people, including people with disabilities.
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?
Start 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 that:
1) Include a note in all job ads – something like “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 and/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 these accommodations:
a) Will my motorized wheelchair fit through the door of your interview room? I had to make sure in advance.
b) If there are any written materials, can I have them in a large font? I asked which font suited them and printed stuff in that font.
c) Will there by water? It doesn’t matter to me why they wanted water, I just always provided water.
You may get these or other requests. I think the important thing to note 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 when you offer the job – “we offer ongoing accommodation”. 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 for the work. It’s likely the law in your jurisdiction – it is in ours – and data show that the vast majority of accommodations fall in the (very accessible) 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.
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