4 Tips For Recruiting People with Disabilities

By Madison White on February 11, 2019

In recent years, workplaces have become more and more dedicated to diversifying their workforce. Studies have shown that a diversified workforce leads to better leadership, financial performance, and higher customer satisfaction.

Many companies have committed to seeking out and hiring people of all backgrounds to join their companies. People with disabilities may be one such group that your company may be interested in recruiting and hiring, but you may be unsure about how to find the right people for the role. While many of the processes for hiring people with disabilities are the same as hiring able-bodied individuals, there are some key actions that may be slightly different. With the right tools and knowledge, you’ll be well on your way to recruiting and hiring some wonderful candidates.

1. Reach out to groups and organizations

A great way to understand what people with disabilities are looking for in a job is simply to get to know some. There are many state and national organizations that are set-up specifically to help people with disabilities find wonderful and fulfilling jobs. You can find an entire list of organizations on the EARN (Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion) website.

It is also likely that there are many local organizations that specialize in this area too. If you work with local colleges and universities to recruit potential employees, it is very likely that they have a group or staff team dedicated to helping students with disabilities. It would be a good idea to meet with some of these people, or at least get in touch, to help you gain an even better understanding of what these potential employees are looking for. They are also likely to help you promote your job advertisement to their cohort and connections within the community.

2. Make your job description inclusive

You may think that people ignore the industry jargon at the bottom of a job description that actively encourages diversity and inclusion, but you would be wrong. Having a statement that says explicitly that you encourage applicants with disabilities can make a world of difference to someone who is considering applying for the role.

If you have control over how the advertisement is presented, make sure that it is acceptable for people with disabilities. Your font should not be too small and make sure that your paragraphs are broken up into small sections. The contact information or application procedures should be clear and easy to find. If possible, have your application be digital. Many people disabilities utilize computerized programs to help them read, listen to, and respond.

3. Post your ad on many platforms

Like any job advertisement, you want to cast a wide net to catch the best applicants. You’ll want to post your ad on all of the usual large platforms. In addition to those, it would be helpful to post your ad on some websites and job boards specific to people with disabilities. Using these resources can open up more opportunities that you wouldn’t have had otherwise. You can find a large list of these specific job boards on EARN’s website.

Alongside traditional job advertisements, you can make a big impact by using social media to share the job opening. You could reach out to certain social media accounts that work with and interact with people with disabilities. Asking them to share your social media post or job listing could expose lots of wonderful applicants to your job opening. While they may not always respond, many organizations will be delighted that you are seeking out applicants from diversified backgrounds.

4. Utilize the internet

If you’ve already found someone with a disability that you are interested in recruiting, you should follow these recruitment tactics that will help you make a good impression. Because many people with disabilities communicate over email, this is a great time to show them why you would be a great employer to work for.

While you definitely do want to personalize the email, don’t make all of your conversations about their disability. They aren’t being recruited because they are disabled, they’re being recruited because they have the skill set you’re looking for. It is a good idea to wait for them to bring up any potential concerns they have about accessibility, otherwise, you could be making some damaging assumptions about their condition. Remember to be friendly, optimistic, and tenacious while recruiting. You should always remain flexible and open to any changes you may have to make to the process and to the job in general.

Throughout this process, you should remember to treat people with disabilities with the same kindness, respect, and consideration that you would any person. Having skilled and committed people in your company should always be your number one goal.

By Madison White

Uloop Writer
Wichita State University
Madison graduated with her Master's degree in Creative Writing from the University of Manchester (UK), and holds Bachelor's degrees in English and Creative Writing from Wichita State University. She currently teaches English at Wichita State University and works as a freelance writer and blogger on her website Madison White Writes and elsewhere.

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