How can your organisation support candidates with disabilities?

people at work having a discussion

With over 11 million people in the UK identifying as having a long term illness, impairment, or disability, organisations with fully accessible recruitment processes will have access to the widest talent pool possible in order to attract the best talent.

Under the Equality Act, organisations are obligated to provide reasonable adjustments to candidates with a disability. The Equality Act defines a disability as a physical or mental impairment that has a 'substantial' and 'long-term' negative effect on a person’s ability to do normal daily activities. This broad definition means that diabetes; HIV/AIDS and disfigurement are categorised as disabilities and thereby fall under the realms of protection the Equality Act offers.

Despite this, research shows that people with disabilities are less likely to be in employment with the UK employment rate among working age at 46.5% (4.1 million), compared to 84%% of non-disabled people.

What can your organisation do to support candidates with disabilities?

  • Use inclusive language:
    It is important to focus on the abilities of the candidate rather than the disabilities. This should also be reflected in the language used by recruiters and in any job adverts. Using the nomenclature of “candidates with a disability” rather than “a disabled candidate” puts the focus on the candidate rather than on their disabilities.

  • Educate your recruiters:
    Train your recruiters on the Equality Act and ensure they are fully informed of your organisations commitment to offer an inclusive recruitment process to candidates. It is imperative that you create a cadre of “diversity literate” recruiters to ensure that they are competent and capable of supporting your candidates.

  • Make your suppliers aware:  
    If your resourcing platform operates through the MSP or RPO, then the various moving parts as part of your process will need to be addressed. Candidates that come through agencies should be offered the same experience and support as those that are directly sourced. How are you engaging with your vendors and suppliers to share best practice?

  • Go mystery shopping:
    Submit dummy or test applications to assess the level of support offered to candidates with a disability. Submit test queries to recruiters around reasonable adjustments to benchmark the level of candidate experience offered by your resourcing function.

  • Make reasonable adjustments:
    Proactively offer reasonable adjustments to candidates. From the presence of a sign language interpreter at an interview to holding an interview at a particular time of day to accommodate medication needs, ensure that you are offering candidates the adjustments needed to help them perform their best throughout the process.

  • Create conversations:
    Does your organisation have a colleague network group to support staff with disabilities? Consult with them to identify means to improve the accessibility of your candidate experience.

  • Become Disability Confident
    Consider enrolling your organisation into the UK Governments Disability Confident scheme. This scheme asks organisations to make a series of commitments around how they will recruit people with disabilities. This can include mandating that any candidate that identifies as having a disability and meets the essential criteria for a role will be offered an interview.
- James Haq-Myles, Diversity & Inclusion Consultant, Resource Solutions