What steps can be taken to promote more accessible and inclusive hiring?

Hiring the best and brightest team members is top priority for any employer. But, recruiting diverse applicant pools requires inclusive hiring practices from the start. Follow these five steps to recruit competitive applicants with disabilities.

1. Make job ads accessible   

Having a detailed job description that includes descriptions of the work environment as well as essential (as opposed to marginal) job duties is important for recruiting a diverse applicant pool that includes people with disabilities. Beware of requirement creep, which could be exclusionary. The job advertisement is a great place to affirm your organization’s commitment to inclusion with explicit statements about the high value it places on diversity and inclusion. Also make sure all of the information about your job is presented in an accessible format; this includes ensuring that all images have alternative text descriptions, videos have captions and audio descriptions, and webpages follow established accessible design practices, such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.

2. Target your recruitment

Once you make your job advertisements accessible and inclusive, take steps to generate a diverse applicant pool. Conduct targeted outreach to veterans, rehabilitation facilities, American Job Centers, and Centers for Independent Living (CILs). There are many job boards that will help you connect to diverse candidates, including the Workforce Recruiting Program (WRC) and the Talent Acquisition Portal (TAP). Consider becoming an AccessComputing industry partner (free!) to reach hundreds of students with disabilities in computing from across the United States.

3. Coordinate accommodations

In your general messaging to invite candidates to interview, include who to contact to arrange for disability-related accommodations. Ensure that these individuals are prepared to provide support for applicants with a range of disabilities in a timely manner and apply an interactive process as they dialogue with the candidate about potential accommodations that are both effective and appropriate.

4. Send materials in advance 

Give candidates access to information about the interview in advance so that they can adequately prepare. Helpful information includes a description of the hiring process, the layout of the physical or digital meeting space, the names of anticipated meeting attendees, print or digital interview materials that will be used, and, optionally, a list of the questions that will be asked during the interview.

5. Host inclusive interviews

To reduce bias in hiring processes and evaluation criteria, use a standard interview protocol for all candidates. Ensure that everyone involved in the interview process follows basic disability etiquette, including asking first before offering assistance and not making comments or asking questions about a person’s disability. 

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