Job descriptions that improve the chance of hiring the most suitable person
There are around 7.7 million people of working age with a disability or long-term health condition in the UK and yet only around half of them are in work according to the latest figures. This represents a huge pool of untapped talent which businesses can’t afford to ignore.
When recruiting a new employee, the aim should be to hire the most suitable person for the job, ie. the person with the skills, qualities and experience needed for the role. Therefore, job and person specifications, application forms and interview questions etc. should focus on these.
Think about what you really want the person to do and the behaviours you want from them, and choose your words carefully. Focus on the tasks you want completed rather than using the existing jobholder as the model.
Advertising jobs for people with disabilities
To attract a wide range of applicants you should use the following approaches:
- Diversity and Inclusion statement: Make it clear in your recruitment literature that your organisation is committed to inclusion and diversity, and welcomes applications from people with a disability or long-term health condition.
- Positive action: Sign up to the Disability Confident scheme and display your badge, committing to offering disabled people an interview if they meet the minimum criteria for the job.
- Advertising: Advertise your vacancy through a range of media to appeal to a diverse audience and consider using a mix of channels, including those that specifically reach disabled people. Use inclusive job boards such as Includability to show your commitment to recruiting people with disabilities.
- Company Ambassadors: Provide a contact point for people who may have questions about the recruitment process or what it’s like working at your company. This could be a disability champion or the chair or a member of your disability staff network if you have one.
- Accessibility: Make sure your recruitment website and vacancy postings meet accessibility requirements. Ensure the use of alt text with images on social media and on the web. Consider using a third-party toolbar such as Recite Me which allows users to interact with your website in the ways which are most suited to their needs.
Job applications for people with disabilities
You should provide any forms or information about a job in alternative formats, such as email, audiotape or CD, if requested to do so. You should also accept applications, with all information needed, in an accessible format.
Interviews and adjustments for disabled people
You can’t ask questions about an individual’s health or disability during the recruitment process (except in limited circumstances). However, as part of the recruitment process it’s important to ask all applicants whether they need any particular adjustments for any part of the recruitment and selection process.
Adjustments to your interview process could include:
- Ensuring that the interview room is accessible or appropriately equipped
- Allowing a support worker to attend an interview if required
- Offering communication support if needed such as a BSL interpreter
- Adapting tests or selection exercises, for example, by granting some additional time for completion, or questioning whether timed tests are needed at all.
- You might want to consider whether you could take an alternative approach to get the best outcome, for example, by asking:
- Do you need to have traditional face-to-face interviews?
- Can you give the option of an interview via video-link or online if it suits the candidate better?
- Would a ‘work trial’ rather than a formal interview give you a clearer indication of a person’s suitability for the job (by giving them an opportunity to show you what they can do, rather than tell you about it)?
- Remember, many adjustments are straightforward and can be implemented easily, at little or no cost.