Inclusive recruitment process ‘key’ to unlock workforce potential

23 January 2023

Half of Australian managers and human resources professionals say their business has never hired a person with disability, according to a recent YouGov survey
Image: a woman smiling and shaking hands with one of the two people sitting at the table in an office.

Half of Australian managers and human resources professionals say their business has never hired a person with disability, according to a recent YouGov survey.

The good news is 9 out of 10 say they are very open to the idea.

JobAccess General Manager, Daniel Valiente Riedl, says that the time is right for employers to make their workplaces disability friendly.

“There are some easy, cost-free tips for an inclusive recruitment process which can unlock your workforce potential,” said Daniel.

“We can assist employers to confidently recruit people with disability and enjoy the rewards of having a diverse workforce, making their recruitment process more inclusive.

“Having an inclusive recruitment process is key to broadening the talent pool available to employers and enabling candidates with disability to shine. Not only will employers enjoy the additional benefits of a diverse workforce where different perspectives feed into all aspects of the business, but they will also ease the strain of the skills shortage.”

JobAccess provides information and free support available to employers to increase their inclusivity – including resources dedicated to making recruitment processes more inclusive.

Hiring managers can find many of these tips in the Employer Toolkit, a free online resource offering practical advice on disability and employment - from inclusive policies and recruitment to workplace adjustments and managing staff.

Designing and advertising job vacancies

After an organisation decides to recruit people living with disability, the next step is designing and advertising the job vacancy.

Employers should ensure the job description uses clear, plain English and avoids internal jargon, which may confuse or dissuade candidates. Contact details of the National Relay Service can also encourage candidates who are deaf or have hearing or speech impairment to apply.

The advertisement should consider the job’s requirements – especially what skills are essential and what are non-essential or nice to have. Employers may want to offer traineeships and apprenticeships to help build a candidate’s skills.

Job advertisements should be in an accessible form and easily read by screen readers. They should also be available in different formats, such as hard copy, audio and large print.

Employers can also hold face-to-face information sessions about the job and encourage people with disability to attend and apply.

Interviewing and selecting candidates

Employers need to remember that recruiting people with disability is about giving everyone a fair chance. With a few easy modifications, people with the right skills and experience can be given the opportunity to shine.

There are some questions interviewers should ask themselves before the interview to make sure the candidate has a fair chance and is adequately supported. These include:

  • Does the candidate have transferable skills for the position?
  • Will a modified interview or testing process help to find the best person for the job?
  • Is the candidate aware of any medical or physical requirements relating to the job?
  • Does the candidate need any adjustments to participate in the interview?

During the interview, there may be times when it is legitimate to ask about a candidate’s disability and it must be done in a non-discriminatory way. Avoid questions that may carry negative connotations or assumptions.

Interviewers should avoid asking questions like, “What disability do you have?” or “How will this affect your ability to do this job?”. Instead, they should ask, “Do you require any workplace adjustments to perform the job?” or “How can we support you at work?”.

Successful and unsuccessful candidates

Making a job offer or providing feedback to an unsuccessful candidate with disability should be managed the same as any potential employee. However, when considering people with disability, it is essential to ensure processes are managed sensitively and without discrimination.

Employers should ensure successful candidates understand the workplace agreement or contract, including the terms, expected conduct and work hours. The candidate should not be rushed to decide on the offer.

At this stage, it is good to confirm accessibility requirements. Employers should reassure employees that reasonable adjustments will be in place from day one. It can also be helpful to discuss what will happen during the first week, including any inductions or training.

Unsuccessful candidates will often seek feedback to help them do better next time. Employers should take the time to deliver honest, constructive and positive feedback in a sensitive manner.

Candidates can be unsuccessful for many reasons, so interviewers should explain which criteria were met and which were not whilst reminding the candidate of their strengths.

Interviewers should always ask themselves if the candidate was given objective and serious consideration and if their disability played a role in the candidate not being successful.

Induction and training new employees

Employers should not assume that all people with disability require different types of induction or training to start their new jobs. However, employers may sometimes need to cater to individual requirements and make reasonable adjustments to provide employees with the best start possible.

Inductions should include all the usual talking points, such as clarifying roles, operating hours, health and safety, and orientation. The employee’s manager should check in regularly, especially during the first few weeks.

Before a new employee commences, it may be necessary to review induction and training procedures to ensure they are accessible. For example, making sure an induction package is readable by assistive technology.

Employers should also allow increased time for training and consider putting in place a workplace buddy or mentor system to help new employees settle into their roles.

Help is at hand with the NDRC

The National Disability Recruitment Coordinator (NDRC) provides tailored, one-to-one personalised support to help large employers become disability fit.

Contact JobAccess on 1800 464 800 to connect with the NDRC or submit an enquiry.

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