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4 Tips for Making Your Hiring Practices More Inclusive and Accessible

There are numerous good reasons to recruit people with disabilities—from getting access to untapped talent to creating a more inclusive workplace to being eligible for state and federal financial incentives. Unfortunately, some people may not see these benefits and believe false narratives. For example, ABILITY Magazine reports that 36 percent of people in the workplace erroneously believe that those living with disabilities are less productive than workers who do not—which may make it more difficult for some recruiters to get a buy-in for hiring more of this talent.

And then there's the issue of accessibility. Some companies may be reluctant to hire people with disabilities because of the perceived cost of accommodations. However, according to the Job Accommodation Network, most accommodations can be made at no or low cost to employers. As a result, making your hiring practices more accessible and inclusive may be easier—and definitely less costly—than you may think.

4 Tips for Making Your Hiring Practices More Inclusive and Accessible

To reach your DEIB goals, it's a good idea to incorporate hiring people with disabilities into your diversity recruitment plan. However, in order to accomplish this, it's important to adopt hiring practices that demonstrate both inclusivity and accessibility. Here are some ways to do it.

1. Actively Recruit People With Disabilities

During the course of your recruiting, you may get applicants who have disabilities in your talent pool, and you may not. One way to ensure that you get more of this talent is by actively letting them know you're open to hiring them. You can include this in all of your job descriptions, as well as post ads on boards specifically designed for people with disabilities.  Also, attend job fairs geared toward these workers and partner with organizations that help them find employment.

2. Incorporate People With Disabilities Into the Hiring Process

Current employees with disabilities can give you invaluable insights on your hiring process, so they may provide advice on how to make it more accessible and inclusive. In addition, if these employees are involved in interviewing, it can make candidates feel more at ease because they’ll know you're open to hiring them, and there are people who understand them already in the workplace.

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3. Make Accessibility Part of the Application Process

If you're not getting as many applications from people with disabilities as you want, evaluate the accessibility of the application process. Although your careers site might be user-friendly for most people, this talent may have a hard time navigating it—and when that happens, they’ll simply give up on applying for a position. 

For example, if your careers site has eye catching, flashy graphics, it may make it difficult for those who are neurodivergent to process information. Similarly, those with learning disabilities may have a difficult time completing CAPTCHA tests or following complicated navigation paths. Also, some site designs can be too challenging for those with vision and hearing impairments. As a result, you should do an audit of your website to ensure there are no issues that will deter people with disabilities from applying for jobs.

Some specific improvements that can be made to your organization’s careers website include adding alt-text descriptions to photos so those who are visually impaired understand what they're seeing; incorporating keyboard accessibility functions for those who have trouble navigating websites with a mouse; and inserting captions to all videos for people with hearing issues. In addition, if your application process includes completing assessments, set up the system to give people with disabilities extra time to complete them.

4. Offer Remote Interviews and Work

Some candidates with disabilities may feel more comfortable participating in an interview remotely. Be sure to offer this option so they are better able to put their best foot forward during the interview because they're in the environment where they’re most comfortable.

In addition, allowing remote work for people with disabilities can increase the inclusivity and accessibility of your business. Since telecommuting has become much more common with the pandemic, this is a great time to allow employees to telecommute if it alleviates stress, makes them happier, and helps them work more efficiently.

Although some employers may be reluctant to consider people with disabilities for jobs, in order to create an environment that values DEIB, it's important to incorporate these candidates into your hiring. These accessibility tips will make your workplace more attractive to this talent and telegraph the message that you're not only open to hiring them, but you’re willing to give them the accommodations they need.

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