Ready or Not, Recruiting People with Disabilities in 2019

This is the second in a series of 5 blogs focusing on the typical components that businesses think they need to be “ready” to intentionally employ people with disabilities. (see first blogif you want to know what I mean by “ready”)

As I said in the first one, there are 2 points of view related to “ready”:

1. The person is not in a position of authority or influence to make their company “ready” but they can see flaws in the current status

2. The person is in a position of authority and influence but doesn’t see the priority in creating the “readiness” or doesn’t really understand what “ready” looks like

Today we are addressing “readiness” for recruiting. How do you find them? How do you interview them? Are there partners out there that can help? Are systems accessible? Are all interviewing locations accessible? What can you and can’t you ask about the disability? What do you need in place? Where can you find reliable resources?

This is actually a bigger topic than what can be handled in one blog, but hopefully this will leave a trail of breadcrumbs that will help you move forward.

We can start with “who” are people with disabilities? Then we can go on to answer, “how do we find them?” finally moving on to the rest.

People with disabilities is a large group, currently touted as 26% of American citizens (according to the CDC). We can debate the actual definition of disability later, or just read this.

But trust me it’s a large group but about 75% have “non-apparent” disabilities. Which means you can’t tell that the person has a disability (unless they tell you). So, I am guessing you aren’t worried about being “ready” to recruit the candidates with non-apparent disabilities. But just because you don’t know that a candidate has a disability, doesn’t mean that they aren’t measuring you for disability friendliness. Did you notice I did not mention accessible? Just disability friendly… We will discuss accessibility in the last blog, but for now let’s stick with the less technical things.

Now let’s consider “how do you find them?” I am pretty sure you are aware that you can’t send out requisitions saying, “if you have a disability, be sure to apply”. But there are subtle ways to reach the disability community – attend job fairs that focus on candidates with disabilities, join national groups like Disability:IN, or for low budget ideas reach out to your local independent living center, look up your state’s vocational rehabilitation agency and find out where the local office is, follow social media feeds focused on disability. Did you know that every college/university campus has a disabled student services office? When doing campus recruiting, you can let the career services office know you want to ensure students with disabilities are included in recruiting events. There are a few disability dedicated placement services and job boards out there. Check with their current customers to learn more about the ROI of those vendors.

As I mentioned, we will go in depth into accessibility in the last blog of this series, but there are things that you can do related to accessibility as well. Be familiar with the Job Accommodation Network, I cannot recommend them enough, JAN is free and confidential, they offer a wealth of information on accommodations, their Toolkit is super user-friendly, they also have a mobile app! EY offers a thorough “Accessible Facility Checklist” that can also help you identify if interviewing locations are accessible. If you don’t think they are, identify an alternate location that you can use when you need to ensure it is accessible. Wait! How will you know if a candidate needs an accessible location? Simply, ask. When scheduling any interview, part of the protocol should be to ask a candidate if they will need anything to ensure it’s accessible. This means you need to be sure to inform them what is involved in an interview (any testing, usage of electronic equipment – like a kiosk, interview format, etc.) so they can advise if they need an accommodation. I bet your next thought is “so what do I do when they ask for an accommodation?” That depends on your company and the accommodation requested. If they just say they need directions for wheelchair accessible parking and an accessible location – well, you can do that. But if they say they will need an accessible kiosk for completing some component of the interview, you should check with your IT staff and/or the kiosk vendor. Don’t let the “what if” get in your way.

There is even an online certification you can earn to be a disabilityrecuiterthat gets you 19 hours of HRCI CEUs, if that interests you. It covers all of this stuff and so much more! How awesome is that?

Being “ready” to employ people with disabilities isn’t hard. The angst and apprehension of “what if” is big and scary, and then you actually do some of these things and say “really? That’s it?! That is all I need to do to recruit people with disabilities? And yes, it is much easier than it sounds. If you need help finding local resources related to recruiting people with disabilities, please feel free to e mail meand check out my resources page for businesses.

I am producing free masterclasses for Recruiting People with Disabilities, the first one is 12/19/18 but

woman getting water splashed in her face

you can enroll now. Feel free to check them out!

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