When recruiting and hiring people with disabilities there are certain factors to take into consideration from an HR perspective. Applicants with disabilities, like all others, are considered qualified for jobs if they meet experience and education requirements or if they can perform the basic functions of the job. The one difference is that an employer must take into consideration whether reasonable accommodations must be provided so that they are able to perform the job.
As an HR professional or recruiter, there are some things to keep in mind when seeking out applicants with disabilities to join your workforce:
1. Make sure your job descriptions can be accessed by individuals with disabilities. For example, if you post your jobs online, you may want to allow for larger print options, or voice options for the blind.
2. Include notification on the job application informing applicants with disabilities that if accommodations are necessary to apply or interview, they can reach a contact person within the company to request that accommodation.
3. Ensure that locations where interviews will be held have accommodations such as wheelchair ramps, interpreters, and disability-friendly facilities.
4. Consider listing your job posting with web sites that are designed to reach audiences with disabilities such as jobaccess.org.
5. Be sure not to ask questions about their disability unless they voluntarily provide that information or if there is an obvious observable disability. If a conditional job offer is made, you may obtain medical records and additional information.
6. Focus the interview on what they CAN do, not on their limitations. Ask about their skill set, training, previous job experience, education, or certifications. Ask them how they would go about performing a specific job function.
7. Don’t ask about accommodations until after a conditional offer has been given. Doing so prior to that point can only be done if the applicant brings it up first.
These are just a few ground rules to follow when recruiting and hiring people with disabilities. You can learn more in our HR toolbox in the section on hiring people with disabilities.