Here at Hireability Spokane, we work with employers to evaluate their hiring processes and provide resources that help them hire highly qualified employees who happen to have disabilities. One concern that often comes up with employers and those who would be potential colleagues is a fear of saying the “right” thing to a disabled employee.
We get it. It can be embarrassing when you say something that might be seen as offensive and no one wants to feel like they’re walking on eggshells around someone else. Here are our tips for handling these fears in your business.
The interview process for employees with disabilities
When it comes to hiring an employee with a disability, you might be afraid that something you’re going to do or say will break human rights laws. The fact of the matter is, interviewing is easy! The key is to focus on abilities and ask the same questions that you’d ask other candidates. You don’t have to change everything or put excess pressure on your team just for the interview.
However, there are some ways that you can adjust your interview process to accommodate those who have disabilities. We previously wrote a blog that went through some hiring practices that can help you be inclusive in your hiring process. The key here is that you don’t need to change everything just for one person. Adjust your hiring process overall so that people with and without disabilities will go through the same process.
Fear of offending someone with disabilities
Many employers experience the fear of saying the wrong thing, which will embarrass them or set them up for a lawsuit. You might feel like you’re not experienced enough to work around someone with a disability, but the truth is everyone is unique, disability or not. There’s always a risk of offending someone and usually, if you’re approaching your employees or colleagues from a place of kindness, you’ll be just fine.
After all, people with disabilities understand that others don’t know the language. If you’re ever not sure about something, just ask. It’s okay to say ‘walk’ to a person in a wheelchair and ‘see’ to someone who is blind. You don’t need to overthink it. People with disabilities are happy to help you along the way. You’ll get better at it over time and eventually it won’t be something you fear as much.
Addressing other myths around hiring people with disabilities
If you still have some concerns about hiring people with disabilities, we have another blog post that covers some of the common myths. Give that a read sometime.
If there’s something we haven’t addressed yet, feel free to reach out to us. We’d love to connect with you and help you along the way. We’re a non-profit organization so we’re never selling anything to you. We just genuinely care about helping businesses hire qualified, long-term employees that reflect the community they serve!