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11 Steps to More Accessible and Inclusive Hiring

How to create inclusive hiring for people with disabilities

David Gevorkian
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11 Steps To More Accessible and Inclusive Hiring

With only 21.3% of Americans living with disabilities employed as of 2022, inclusive hiring is now more critical than ever. It is this group that struggles the most in matters of discrimination, inhospitable working environments, and worse, inaccessible hiring processes.

If you are an organization that wants to be all-inclusive, you should know that it all starts at the very first stages of recruitment. The following are some tips that will come in handy to help you achieve inclusive hiring.

What Is Inclusive Hiring and Why Is It Important?

Inclusive hiring should be one of the most fundamental goals of any institution. It is the process that causes recruiters to minimize bias during the entire hiring process, from the application, through interviews and all the way to candidate selection and a job offer. The goal is to ensure that your candidates come from various walks of life or backgrounds.

Most people are aware of a few common areas of discrimination–race, gender, and religion–but there are quite a number of factors to account for as well, which includes people living with disabilities. These are a few reasons why diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) hiring is paramount to a company.

  • Attracting the Best Talent: Any professional applying for a job will first conduct research about the organization, and will look at everything from online reviews to staff composition and diversity. They will use it when considering job offers, paying more attention to firms that are equitable, with attention to diversity.
  • Stronger Competitive Advantage: The more inclusive the hiring process is, the more likely a company will find the relevant skills needed for the job. The recruiters get the upper hand because there is a broader pool of applicants to choose from, and that is the competitive edge that any company needs.
  • Higher productivity: If you are looking to meet annual targets, generate more revenue, and have more cash flow for each employee, your chances increase if there is diversity. Some statistics show that diverse teams are up to 35% more productive.
  • Improved company reputation: Clients want to work with a company that they can relate to. Having a diverse team across many metrics means your company will also find it easy to create better products that serve all the needs of various groups of people.

Steps Towards Making Hiring More Inclusive and Accessible

A business that promotes inclusivity in the workforce sees improved results, from greater innovation to a better reputation among the community. If you are a company aiming to take advantage of such benefits, there are certain measures that you should consider putting in place.

Write Inclusive Job Descriptions

Any applicant will take a close look at the job description when applying. This helps them understand whether they are a perfect fit or if they have a high chance of getting selected. Often job listings are written without an eye to different experiences, which could be very limiting.

For instance, stating that candidates should be able to drive to work locks out people without vehicles or those who cannot drive. Instead, it would be better if the job description stated that the individual should have a means of accessing the workplace using a reliable transportation mode.

Make Sure Your Platform Is Accessible

To bring on board as many people as possible across various backgrounds, you have to find ways to show that you are an accommodating workplace for employees no matter their disabilities. Accessibility can be started by simply making it easy for everyone to enter the company building. Resources should be available to make any necessary adjustments so that anyone can access the company’s buildings, websites, and tools–and that applies to both employees and clients.

Provide Multiple Ways To Apply

When hiring, every company wants to reach out to as many people as possible through its online presence. Unfortunately, that cannot happen if the platforms are not easily accessible by all, especially the websites that applicants need.

Your website should contain alt-text alongside images to include the visually impaired. In addition, you should also consider adding text to video content for those who are hard of hearing, and keyboard or voice-activated navigations for those who are unable to move pointers.

Build Relationships With Communities

People with disabilities are usually affiliated with various organizations, making those organizations one of the best sources to find some of the most brilliant minds for the job. You can easily find members with the right skill sets, from graduating students to seasoned employees from marginalized groups. Forming lasting relationships with these organizations keeps you ahead of the pack because you will have better access to usually overlooked talents.

Share Materials For Interview Preparation

One more way that you can make inclusive hiring more achievable is by optimizing your interview process. So many people with disabilities miss great opportunities because they lack proper information about what the hiring process entails, while others fail to show up because they are not well-prepared for the entire process.

Take, for instance, people using wheelchairs. They need to know whether they will be well-accommodated when they turn up for in-person interviews, including if there is accessible parking, and if they will have easy access to the building. Providing interview questions beforehand will also help individuals living with processing disorders.

Offer Remote Interviews

If your company has yet to make the necessary adjustments needed to adequately accommodate every interviewee, you can work around that by offering remote interviews. If there are limited ways for people with disabilities to access the company building, it is best to make the process more comfortable for the applicants.

You can also make sure that your video service caters to all inabilities. For applicants who are hard of hearing, you can offer live captions, and allow for written interviews for those with speech impediments. Inclusive hiring entails making the process very flexible, giving everyone a shot no matter their inabilities.

Create Ways To Easily Request Accommodations

So many people give up during the initial application process because they doubt whether they will be accommodated when they turn up for interviews. A firm can lose out on great applicants because they lack such services, which explains why it is critical to make it clear in the post that everyone’s needs will be met.

To make it easier, companies usually post the steps applicants need to take when they are requesting an accommodation. It should be highly visible on the application website, and there can be multiple ways for people to request what they need, either through email or phone calls. This also puts prospective interviewees at ease, knowing that the firm cares about their needs.

Focus on Human-Centered Interviews

Companies usually make their interviews more human-centered to avoid making exceptional applicants feel left out during the hiring process. This means that instead of focusing more on how well the applicant answers questions, the goal is to assess if they are good at what they do. Do they have the skills required for the job? Will they be an asset when employed?

It also helps to use inclusive language and be accommodative to all people, even when they don’t necessarily disclose whether they have a disability. To make this possible, consider making the video clear and the audio audible enough for remote interviews. And as for in-person interviews, check that the lighting is perfect and the furniture is well laid out and close enough to the interviewers.

Offer Flexible and Accessible Work Environment

The best way to make your company more appealing when promoting DEI hiring is to keep the work environment flexible. It is also the perfect way to increase employee retention and make the workforce more productive.

People with various needs may have to attend to them urgently; hence, the business must allow them the chance to handle those concerns. Some businesses go a step further to allow some people to work exclusively from home if their daily needs will limit them from coming to work daily.

Be Open To Feedback

Getting feedback from employees and applicants also makes a lot of difference to a company trying to be more inclusive. By hearing it straight from the applicants or current employees, companies can easily identify the areas they need to work on and where they are doing a great job. You can use interviews, conduct surveys, or hire a dedicated team to collect crucial data.

Also, consider adding a section where you ask applicants whether their needs were met and if the process was comfortable. Through keeping the communication channels open, applicants will feel confident that their input will be valuable and know that the firm is willing to make necessary improvements to accommodate them.

Evaluate Your Hiring Strategies Frequently

When you have laid down all the strategies and implemented them, your final step is checking if these accommodations are successful. The steps are only worth it if they are working and you can confirm that the workplace is achieving its inclusive hiring goals. Knowing that there is always room for improvement, it will be easier to make necessary adjustments to ensure that DEI hiring is achieved and it is all-inclusive if you collect data around your hiring processes and decisions, and revisit them frequently..

Final Thoughts

Successful companies attribute their achievements to making their workplace more diverse. This is the best way to gain perspective from various angles, depending on gender, age, race, and abilities. People bring a wealth of knowledge to the table, and the best way to improve the ROI and increase company revenue is by incorporating various skill sets into the team.

Unfortunately, firms struggle with inclusive hiring because they don’t know how to reach out to people with disabilities and assure them that they have a safe and comfortable space to work in. The steps above are some of the most effective ways that have worked for firms to make them attract talents from all over the country, regardless of their disabilities. You can also achieve the same for your company; in no time, you will have mastered the art of inclusive hiring and benefit from input from brilliant minds, no matter their backgrounds.

David started Be Accessible because of his passion for website accessibility and ADA compliance. He spent much of his career working for financial institutions creating websites and mobile applications. He earned his Master’s in Business Administration from Salve Regina University in Rhode Island. David is an advocate for creating web interfaces usable by all people. He enjoys recording music and playing soccer with friends.

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