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'Know me for my abilities, not my disability'

How can we support candidates with disabilities in the recruitment process?

28 / 10 / 2019Fiona Doherty

In a time when disabled people are more than twice as likely to be unemployed than non-disabled people and they have to apply for 60% more jobs before employment on average, it begs the question ‘Why?’. Of course, some severe disabilities make work impossible, but the majority of disabled people are talented, determined, and just as capable of achieving great things as any non-disabled person.

We decided to delve further into this subject in order to determine the main issues and worries that disabled people face, the support that should be available, the support that is currently available, and how GTI as a company has tailored ourselves to support anyone with a disability and offer help to other companies who may require help implementing care strategies for disabled applicants. We did this by reflecting on Lauren Davies of TARGETrecruit’s experience presenting and discussing diversity, inclusion, and disability in recruitment issues with students of Birkbeck University of London.

The main issue that Lauren gathered was the anxiety and concern that disabled candidates can feel when considering that by declaring their disability they may automatically be at a disadvantage in the process or may be ruled out altogether from the start. With disabled applicants having to apply to 60% more jobs to be hired on average, there is no surprise that anxieties and concerns may be putting potential disabled applicants off or causing them to perform worse with this possibility at the back of their mind.

This is primarily caused by the lack of information available for students with disabilities around the application process. Companies need to be as informative and accessible as possible when it comes to informing students and reassuring them of the aid that they can receive during the recruitment process.

Companies can do this easily by:

Improving their website advertising of disability aid and information.

  • Contact details need to always be clear and available on the company website so that students can straightforwardly engage in asking questions and ease their anxieties.
  • The contact details MUST NOT contain general emails or customer response numbers. Instead, they must contain a personal email for a specifically designated team or helper for students with disability queries. These are personal and sensitive issues and so should be dealt with personally and sensitively in order to not deter students from joining your company.

Companies should make aware the adjustments that they are required and able to make for disabled applicants.

  • For instance, many students seemed to be oblivious to the additional time, gamified tests, larger text font changes, and face-to-face interview options over video interviews that are available upon request for students with disabilities.
  • These adjustments can be written as criteria or extra print on/underneath job posts; advertised on the company website; and advertised in videos and social media marketing.

Luckily, there are already companies out there, including Group GTI, that can help disabled students if they have any issues and advise companies that want to improve their disabled recruitment systems and/or advertising:

  • Employability is a major not-for-profit organisation dedicated to assisting students and graduates with all kinds of disabilities, including dyslexia and long-term health conditions, into employment. It also assists businesses in hiring neuro-diverse candidates with disabilities; thus, it can not only help students find a job but it can also help the employers find diversity in their companies.
  • At Group GTI, we also pride ourselves on providing all disabled, neuro-diverse, and non-disabled students with the help and advice they may need when entering and progressing through the recruitment process. When applying to the company we can afford extra-time and a host of aid throughout the recruitment process. We have specifically disability-trained staff who are experienced at working with people of all variety of disabilities; such as Lauren Davies herself. Furthermore, we can even help companies improve their disability inclusion in and out of the recruitment process.

‘Know me for my abilities, not my disability’ is a famous quote by Guinness World Record Holder Robert M. Hensel, and he’s entirely right. We believe that students should be known for the abilities that they have and not disregarded or impeded because of a disability. We all have inabilities, but we focus on our abilities and their value is what allows us and our companies to thrive.

Know your student’s abilities:

Contact to discuss how we can help you to improve your disability recruitment process.

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