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Ensuring Accessibility in the Recruitment Process

Assess your workplace to ensure its doors, including virtual doors, are open to all applicants.

Lay the foundation for success before taking steps to proactively recruit candidates with disabilities. This work includes ensuring an accessible environment across multiple dimensions. The key is to ensure doors are open—literally and figuratively—to people with disabilities.

New technologies, such as eRecruiting tools, and ingrained systems can pose barriers to building an inclusive talent pipeline. Moral and ethical implications of new technologies must be considered as they are implemented in environments where non-discrimination is mandated. In some organizations, the biggest challenge to building an inclusive workforce is educating hiring managers to help them understand the vast potential of a labor force that includes people with disabilities. 

Dimensions of Accessibility

  • Physical Accessibility: A disability-inclusive workplace is a physically accessible workplace, which includes features such as wheelchair ramps, braille signage and accessible restrooms. Learn more about physical accessibility, including tax credits or deductions that may assist businesses that make modifications to improve workplace accessibility.
  • Technological Accessibility: In this day and age, accessibility also applies to the digital workplace, where technology is accessible to all candidates. Today, this increasingly relates to recruiting since applications, and even interviews, are often conducted online, and companies may use tools such as artificial intelligence (AI) to screen candidates. Learn more about technological accessibility.
  • Attitudinal Awareness: Often, the biggest barrier to workplace accessibility is not architectural in nature, but rather attitudinal. Learn more about attitudinal awareness and tools available to increase employers’ perspectives and understanding about disability etiquette and other issues.

Accessibility of Online Recruitment Tools

An applicant’s first impression of a company is often from its website, or online recruitment tools such as job applications. Research shows that job seekers with disabilities often experience accessibility challenges when using online recruitment tools. One study of job seekers with disabilities found that 46% of respondents rated their last experience applying for a job online as “difficult to impossible.” 

Common accessibility challenges of eRecruiting tools include complex navigation features, timeout restrictions and confusing or inconsistent instructions. Experts recommend that employers approach accessibility from both a usability and a compliance standpoint. You can learn more about these challenges and how you might address them in EARN’s tools, such as Putting Research into Practice: Online Outreach Strategies for Attracting Job Seekers with Disabilities and Online Recruitment of and Outreach to People with Disabilities. Use EARN’s Disability Outreach and Inclusion Messaging: Assessment Checklist for Career Pages to assess your organization’s career page(s) to ensure they appeal to candidates with disabilities and highlight disability inclusion. For more information about making your eRecruiting tools accessible, visit the Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology’s (PEAT) website.

Artificial Intelligence

Today, the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the workplace is increasingly commonplace, oftentimes used to screen applicants, streamline the application process, provide on-the-job training, disseminate information and enable workers to be more productive. EARN’s policy brief, Use of Artificial Intelligence to Facilitate Employment Opportunities for People with Disabilities, provides a roadmap for businesses interested in designing, procuring and using AI to benefit, and not discriminate against, people with disabilities. To help organizations assess the efficacy and appropriateness of eRecruiting systems in their recruitment efforts, EARN worked with the Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT) to develop the guide, Checklist for Employers: Facilitating the Hiring of People with Disabilities Through the Use of e-Recruiting Screening Systems, Including AI. Visit PEAT’s website for more information on how good candidates can be screened out due to AI.