AskEARN | Planning for Inclusive Hiring and Onboarding Skip to main content

Welcome to AskEARN’s new website. As we transition to our new site, you can still visit EARN’s previous site.

About EARN

The Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN) offers information and resources to help employers recruit, hire, retain and advance people with disabilities; build inclusive workplace cultures; and meet diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA) goals. 

Getting Started

Start here to learn how to recruit, hire, retain and advance people with disabilities; why workplace inclusion of people with disabilities matters; and how EARN’s resources can help.

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    Phases of Employment

  • A woman in a wheelchair shakes hands with a colleague


    Build a pipeline of talent that includes people with disabilities.

  • Two men work at repairing an engine.


    Identify people who have the skills and attributes for the job.

  • A woman with a disability wearing a helmet works in a factory


    Keep talented employees with disabilities, including those who acquire them on the job.

  • A man uses sign language to communicate.


    Ensure that employees with disabilities have equal opportunities for advancement.

Dinah Cohen Learning Center

EARN’s Learning Center offers a wide range of training resources, including self-paced online courses.

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News & Events

EARN makes it easy to stay up-to-date on disability employment news and information. Start by subscribing to our monthly newsletter and eblasts, which will connect you to upcoming events, developing news and promising practices in the world of disability diversity and inclusion. And don’t forget to follow EARN on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

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Planning for Inclusive Hiring and Onboarding

Building a foundation for an inclusive environment from day one can help organizations of all sizes and in all industries meet their diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA) goals.

To ensure that your company can hire the talent it needs now and in the future, you must make sure that your organization’s hiring and onboarding processes are inclusive of and accessible for people with disabilities. “Inclusive hiring” means that at every stage of the hiring process, candidates with disabilities have equal access. To learn more, visit the Hire (& Keep) the Best: Talent Acquisition & Retention Processes section of EARN’s Inclusion@Work Framework.

Planning for Inclusive Hiring

Job Descriptions and Announcements

The language you use in job descriptions is an important part of ensuring that people with disabilities apply for jobs at your organization. EARN has a number of resources that can help you develop job descriptions and announcements that are inclusive and welcoming of people with disabilities:


Job interviews play a critical role in the hiring process: they allow employers the opportunity to find the person who possesses the best mix of knowledge, skills and abilities for the position. Review EARN's Interviews page for practical tips to ensure that your organization's interview process is accessible. 

Companies that actively pursue a more inclusive workforce that includes people with disabilities often report challenges in finding candidates. The interview experience is a major factor in determining whether or not a candidate joins your company. EARN’s checklist on Accessible and Authentic Interviews for Candidates with Disabilities can help you think through the accessibility and authenticity of your interview process to attract more people with disabilities to your organization. 

Reasonable accommodations are a critical part of ensuring that the interview process is accessible. According to the EEOC, reasonable accommodations must be offered during the job application process. You can learn more about reasonable accommodations during the hiring process in the Ensure Productivity Segment of the Inclusion@Work Framework

The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) also offers a wealth of information on workplace accommodations during every phase of the employment process, including hiring. Learn more about Job Application/Interview Stage Do’s and Don’ts and Streamlining the Interactive Process when Accommodating Job Applicants at JAN’s website You may also want to consider including information on how to request accommodations for interviews, including a point of contact, on your company’s website and in job descriptions. For information on accessibility of virtual interviews, visit the Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology’s (PEAT) website.

Targeted Hiring Programs

In some cases, organizations may wish to create policies or programs to recruit specific disability groups into their workplace. These disability groups may align to the organizations’ missions, such as recruiting veterans for military contractors, or targeted hiring programs may meet a specific organizational need.  You can learn more about such programs here.

Disabled Veterans

When military personnel transition to civilian employment, America’s businesses stand to benefit. Across all industries, veterans are a ready source of qualified, committed job candidates with transferable skills proven in real world situations. 

Neurodiversity in the Workplace

If you are interested in workplace diversity and inclusion, you have probably been hearing a lot about neurodiversity. But what exactly is neurodiversity, and how can hiring neurodiverse employees benefit your organization? Explore the Neurodiversity in the Workplace webpage to learn more. Find out about best practices for designing and implementing a successful and scalable program to recruit, hire, retain and advance neurodiverse employees by reading EARN’s Neurodiversity Inclusion: Checklist for Organizational Success.

Workplace Flexibility

There are many policies and practices that organizations can employ to indicate to applicants that they are an inclusive place to work. While often associated with retention of employees with disabilities, policies and practices that permit workplace flexibility indicate to applicants that your organization is inclusive. Be sure to highlight the availability of these programs in your application and on-boarding materials. 

Self-Identification and Hiring

Self-identification is the act of asking your organization’s job applicants and employees whether they identify as person with a disability, using a form provided by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). This request must be both voluntary and confidential for employees or applicants. Federal contractors and subcontractors are required to invite applicants to voluntarily self-identify as a person with a disability to track success toward affirmative action goals. The information serves as a data point for the company and is not connected to an individual. It is shared with the organization's diversity and inclusion team, but is not shared with the individual’s managers or coworkers. To learn more about self-identification, visit these pages: 

Planning for Inclusive Onboarding

Onboarding is the process through which organizations introduce and include new hires into the workforce. Onboarding sets the tone for the new hires experience with the organization. Effective onboarding can take quite some time as the goal is to ensure that the new employee not only understands the work, but also the culture of the organization. To integrate new employees with disabilities into your workforce, you must have an onboarding process that is accessible for everyone. 

The Hire (& Keep) the Best segment of EARN’s Inclusion@Work Framework provides tips for ensuring your hiring and onboarding processes are accessible. The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) also offers information on how to incorporate reasonable accommodation practices into the onboarding process.