Inclusive Recruitment

Inclusive Recruitment

Many employers find traditional interviews an unreliable way of recruiting staff. Formal interviews can be daunting for anyone but especially if you have a learning disability or mental health problem. They focus on seeking information on which to judge whether a candidate meets the selection criteria for the job role.

Formal interviews are often conducted by a panel who ask questions and probe for responses before scoring the candidates answers. The candidate may be asked specific questions related to the skills required to do the job and then asked to provide examples of where they have used that skill. Group interviews are sometimes used with applicants to observe interpersonal and communication skills. Candidates may be set tasks to complete.

These methods can often be flawed and unreliable resulting in the wrong person being recruited to the job. The process then has to be repeated to attempt to get the right person. This can be a financial drain as staff time is wasted on repeated recruitment, induction and training. These methods can also be intimidating and confusing to a person with a disability.

People with moderate to severe learning disabilities may find it hard to articulate themselves in formal circumstances and some people with mental health problems find traditional interviews very stressful. Formal interviews can often be a test of comprehension rather than a test of skills. Where the process is less formal, more candidates are likely to apply for jobs.

Recruiting workers with a disability

UK and European Law has placed a duty on organisations to comply with equalities legislation and directives. UK Government commissions have researched, reviewed and amended legislation over many years to ensure that it is effective in achieving equal status, treatment and fairness for all the protected characteristics*.

This information concentrates in particular on the recruitment and retention process regarding people with disabilities. The disability duties include making reasonable adjustments, not to discriminate directly or indirectly, or to cause harassment. It is good practice to examine the recruitment process and identify potential barriers in the methods that are used to recruit.

Some people with disabilities are often unsuccessful in being selected for interview for a job without professional support. The difficulties they experience are in navigating quite robust recruitment procedures and overcoming ill-conceived preconceptions that some people have about people with disabilities. A simple and reasonable adjustment to the recruitment process and methods used could prevent discrimination, ensure compliance with legislation and provide the opportunity to recruit from a wider pool of available labour and talent.

*age; disability; gender reassignment; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex; sexual orientation.

Working interviews:

Working interviews provide the opportunity for candidates to be assessed on their actual ability to do the job rather than on their ability to talk about it. Seeing the candidate do the job gives a real feel for the candidate in the work setting, working in teams, taking instruction, communicating and managing time.

The working interview can be used as a reasonable adjustment for a person with a disability. It provides an opportunity for the candidate to practically demonstrate their ability to do the job and the interviewer would be able to formally assess their skills and abilities, score them accordingly and consider them alongside other candidates who may have been interviewed using more traditional methods.

Working interviews also afford the candidate an opportunity to assure themselves that it is the right job for them.

Reasonable Adjustments

Reasonable Adjustment is a legal term introduced under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. Employers have a duty to make reasonable adjustments where arrangements or physical premises place the disabled person at a substantial disadvantage in comparison with persons who are not disabled. Most reasonable adjustments are relatively simple and inexpensive. The following list provides a few examples:

  • Changing / modifying standard policy and procedures
  • Physical adjustments to premises
  • Acquiring specialised equipment or altering existing
  • Providing supervision or additional support
  • Offering flexible working hours or patterns
  • Offering a flexible recruitment process
  • Providing additional training
  • Job carving
  • Providing additional services, such as a sign language interpreter
  • Training staff to understand their responsibilities under the DDA

In most cases making a reasonable adjustment is not difficult and often costs very little. In cases where specialised equipment or major adaptations are required financial support may be available through the Access to Work initiative provided through Jobcentre Plus.