Hiring a Person with Disabilities – Where to Start?

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    Making the decision to hire a person with disabilities should occur long before the job advertisement gets posted and the recruitment process begins.  The decision needs to be made ‘at the top’ of your organization, flowing into the culture of the workplace, the company’s values and hiring practices.

    If trying to target people with disabilities is a new direction for your company, talk to your employees about it before starting the recruiting process.  Your existing staff need to understand the benefits behind working in a diverse and inclusive environment and the reason why your company has decided to go in this direction.  Give them an opportunity to voice their concerns and ask any questions they might have.

    Analysing Recruitment Practices and the Available Position

    Now it is time to review, and maybe overhaul, your recruitment practices.  With the goal of hiring a person with disabilities in mind, take an objective look at the specific position you’re trying to fill.  How will you create a job description and advertisement that doesn’t exclude qualified candidates with disabilities?  Could your description of qualifications require to actually get the job done be inflated or inaccurate?

    Here are some questions to ask yourself that will help you determine if your available position is appropriate for a person with disabilities and how you can advertise it to attract and include people with disabilities.

    What are the specific duties and tasks of the job?  Include details!  If the job requires certain steps, projects, task, etc. make sure you take note of the frequency, duration, effort, skill, complexity, equipment and performance standards required to complete the job.

    What conditions does the employee have to work under?  Things like lighting, air quality, noise level, visual and auditory distractions as well as unpleasant conditions like strong odours, extreme temperatures and potentially noxious fumes all need to be considered.  Also look at the level of interaction the employee will have with other people.  Will they be working alone, on the phone, in a busy atmosphere or in situations where people might become angry?

    How much personal interaction does the job require?  How much supervision is given or received?  Does the position require the employee to work on a team?  What is the level of interaction with other employees, clients or the general public?  What is the nature of that interaction?

    What basic knowledge, skills and abilities are required?  Do not skimp out on the details.  Consider physical exertion such as lifting, standing, twisting and reaching.

    What tools and equipment are required to perform the essential duties of the job?  Are the tools provided?  Are there specific hard or soft skills required to operate certain equipment?

    Are there special requirements, such as shift-work, overtime, being on-call or having to meet short deadlines?  Again, be specific on all aspects of the available position.

    The next step?  Creating the Job Advertisement!  Stay tuned to this blog for more information!