Accessible hiring can make a difference for your business. We’ve heard a lot lately about the difficulties employers have had with hiring. What you might not know is that there are ways your company’s hiring practices might be excluding potential candidates.
Here at HireAbility Spokane, we promote the hiring of people with developmental disabilities in Spokane County. We’re a non-profit that provides free resources and support to employers. We also partner with supported employment professionals to create employment solutions that contribute to a diverse, inclusive workforce.
Here are a few things we’ve learned over the years that will help you have a more accessible hiring process but can also lead to opening your company up to great, long-term employees.
Have the Interview in an Accessible Hiring Place
Make sure that the interviewee will be able to access where you’re planning to have the interview. Are the doors wide enough for a wheelchair? Is there space at the desk for crutches? Will stairs prohibit certain candidates from reaching your office?
These are simple things that we often take for granted. Take some time to review where you normally do your interviews. If you aren’t sure what to look for, reach out to us. We’d be happy to review your space with you and let you know what you could do to improve where you interview.
Ask the Interviewee What Type of Interview Works Best for Them
If you’ve been doing the same sit-down interview for years, you might be missing out on new ways to learn about an applicant’s skills. You’ve probably heard that not everyone learns the same way and not everyone performs the same way. For some people, they’re great on phone interviews, or small group interviews, informal interviews, or working interviews. We’ll talk more about the last one in a bit.
Test out different types of interviews and also be open to asking interviewees directly if they’d prefer a certain type of interview. Give people a chance to show their best selves. You still get to decide if it’s a great fit, but you’ll have all the right information to make that decision.
Be Open to Video Resumes
The old way of doing resumes isn’t right for every person or every job. If you’re hiring someone who mostly deals face-to-face with customers, it won’t matter if they can lift 50+lbs. or how well they can edit an Excel document on a computer.
Paper resumes have their place, and a video can tell you a lot more about an applicant. It can be easier for some people to convey their personality and skills, which are actually needed for the position.
Try a Working Interview
As we mentioned earlier, not everyone is great at the traditional 20 questions style interview. You want to think about the type of job you’re hiring for. Do you really need someone who is good at that style of an interview? Instead, you might do a working interview. These should be short glimpses into how the person would perform the work you’re hiring for.
That could mean giving someone a small project to work on or roleplaying a scenario they might be put in. Just keep in mind that you should not be getting free work out of an interviewee. The working interview is a quick demonstration where the job seeker can showcase the skills your business needs the most.
Accept Applications in Different Forms
Similar to allowing for video resumes, you want to make sure you have a variety of ways for people to apply to your job posting. That could include a written application that’s dropped off, something that’s mailed in, or an online application.
The more options you have, the more likely you are to get a variety of diverse applicants for your jobs. You don’t want to make it unnecessarily difficult for someone to apply. When you do, you’re missing out on potential employees.
Send Out Interview Questions Ahead of Time
This one might be controversial, but hear us out. If you are sticking to the traditional question style interview, consider sending the questions to the interviewee ahead of time. Sure, you may not find out if someone can answer questions in a high-pressure situation, but if that’s not a key skill for the job, it’s not important to test out. What you will find is that for some people, being able to prepare their answers will help with nerves and anxiety. This will allow them to thoughtfully answer questions and get you the information you do need. Plus, you’ll be able to see who is willing to put in the effort to prepare, and sometimes that’s a more important skill for what you’re hiring for.
Need help with accessible hiring?
If you’re not sure the best way to incorporate these accessible hiring practices into your company’s process, reach out to us. We’re a non-profit so we’re not trying to sell you anything. We truly just want to help make hiring more accessible. We love to help companies welcome new, great fitting employees that reflect our community!