Diversity World: Enriching Workplaces and Reducing Employment Barriers - Training. Publishing. Consulting
 
Denise BissonnetteDisability and EmploymentWorkforce Diversity

Go To DiversityShop shop for resources... diversityshop

Disability &
Employment

 
home
 
accommodation
 
affiliations
 
career
 
customers
 

job development
 

for job seekers
 

legal issues
 
recruiting
 
self employment
 
speakers & entertainers
 
statistics/data
 
online videos
 
specific disabilities
 
misc. resources
 
event calendars
 
free newsletter
 

contact us

 

RECRUITING
DISABILITY AND EMPLOYMENT
 

ARTICLES
Targeted Recruiting

Enriching our Workplaces
Professionals with Disabilities: Playing Hard to Get?
Interviewing Issues

RECRUITING SOURCES

Ability Links - A job-matching site  and job-posting site for recruiting applicants with disabilities. (Note: strong focus on Illinois)
Career Gateway - A national site for recruiting college students with disabilities by Career Opportunities for Students with Disabilities (COSD).
Deaf Digest is a free nation-wide weekly online newsletter on Deaf Issues & news. Each issue is accompanied by job postings targeted at Deaf applicants.
Disaboom Jobs - A job-matching (resume and job-posting) site for recruiting applicants with disabilities.
WORKink (Canada)
  - Canadian job-posting service targeted at job seekers with disabilities.
Employment Assistance Referral Network - Free service to link employers with job seekers from local placement agencies.
HireDeaf.com - A targeted recruiting site for Deaf and hard-of-hearing applicants.
HIRE.US - An online resume data base of asian american/pacific islander graduates with disabilities.

Job Access
– A job-matching site for recruiting applicants with disabilities.
Job Opportunities for the Blind - A national program that will train Blind job seekers for specific job opportunities with partner companies. (free)
National Business & Disability Council - Resume bank for Members. 
Conference Board of Canada - Booklet, in pdf format, on tapping the talent of people with disabilities.
RecruitABILITY - a service of disabledperson.com - FREE resume search for prospective employees with disabilities.
Workforce Recruitment Program – Contact information for more than 1000 recent graduates with disabilities from over 150 colleges and universities.

GENERAL EMPLOYER RESOURCES

Disability Employment 101: Learn To Tap Your "Hire" Potential - Publication of the U.S. Department of Education (Search Website by the title.)


 

 

Targeted Recruiting: People With Disabilities
By Rob McInnes

(The following article was written to help employers be more effective at recruiting individuals with disabilities. Feel free to reproduce it with appropriate credit and reference.)

Overview
Getting Your Bearings
External Resources
Proactive Projects
Public Profile
Dismantling Attitudinal Barriers
Last Word

Overview

American companies are short of workers. There are 9.6 million unemployed, working-age people with disabilities who would prefer to be working. You are probably reading this because, like most other companies in America, your company can’t afford to ignore a poorly-tapped labor pool of 9.6 million willing workers. 

The good news is that there really are 9.6 million unemployed Americans who want jobs. The bad news is that recruiting them isn’t all that easy – particularly finding the ones with the right skills for your job openings.

Companies that are proactive about recruiting people with disabilities, companies that proactively do “targeted” recruiting, find that this minority group is quite different from others that they have targeted in the past. 

Unlike racial and ethnic minorities, people with disabilities are more difficult to target. They do not as readily congregate in groups. With few exceptions, you are unlikely to find high concentrations of people with disabilities in particular neighborhoods, churches, cultural organizations, etc. Similarly, particularly on a local level, there are few media sources (magazines, TV programs, radio shows, etc.) that effectively reach a broad audience within the disability community.

Given that, how can your company develop a strategic recruiting program that will enable you to successfully attract applicants with disabilities?

A truly successful recruiting program is going to be a multi-faceted one. While there isn’t a proscribed “recipe for success”, there are many ingredients that are typically a part of successful programs – and we will describe them here. Which ones you choose to use (and what proportions you choose to use them in) will be determined by your own resources, commitment and creative planning!

(Return to Top)

 

Getting Your Bearings

Particularly if you are new to the whole area of recruiting people with disabilities, you are going to want to learn both about the issues that people with disabilities face in the labor market, and the strategies that other employers have used to successfully recruit them.

Peer Learning – Don’t overlook opportunities to tap into the experiences and knowledge of other companies. Many companies are more than willing to share the strategies that have helped them to successfully recruit people with disabilities. Find out what local companies have been recognized for their success and then find out what works for them.

In some locales, groups already exist to encourage this kind of exchange between employers. Business Leadership Networks exist in over 30 states and are intended to be employer-to-employer forums on disability-related issues. (See: www.usbln.com) You might also find this kind of dialogue by affiliating with local Industry Liaison Groups (See: http://www.nilg.org) or the Diversity-related activities of the Society for Human Resources Management (See: www.shrm.org)

Volunteering - In order to gain more insight and strategic positioning for your company, you may also find it useful for you or others in your company to volunteer some time with a Community Based Organization (CBO). Most CBOs readily welcome interest and involvement from employers – as Members of their Board of Directors, participants on Advisory Boards, and or as program-related volunteers. Some CBOs follow the “Projects with Industry” model. Their key programmatic strategy is “Business Advisory Committees” – representatives from local business and industry that help them determine the nature and focus of their services. There are over 100 Projects With Industry throughout the country and most of them belong to INABIR - the InterNational Association of Business Industry and Rehabilitation (See: Inter-National Association of Business, Industry & Rehabilitation)

Personal Study – There are a variety of useful resources available for your personal study. Several of our favorites are listed here:

Publications
Working with People With Disabilities by Richard Pimentel (http://www.diversityshop.com/store/working.html)
Succeeding Together: People With Disabilities in the Workplace
(http://www.csun.edu/~sp20558/dis/em.html)
Employer Resource Kit
(http://www.abletrust.org/resources/resource-kit.pdf)

Video
The Ten Commandments of Communicating with People With Disabilities
(http://www.diversityshop.com/store/10comvid.html)

Websites
California Business Leadership Network (www.cabln.org)
RecruitABILITY (www.recruitability.org)
 

(Return to Top)


External Resources

In general, people with disabilities have historically faced a variety of barriers to employment. Because of this, many organizations and services have been established to help individuals surmount those barriers. In your efforts to successfully recruit people with disabilities, it is in your interest to take advantage of these resources.

Community Based Organizations (CBOs) - CBOs are organizations that provide employment and/or training to people with disabilities. They come in all shapes and sizes and they will have varying capacities to meet your workforce needs. Generally, CBOs also have limited penetration within their disability communities. (Less than 20% of employees with disabilities attribute their recruitment to the services of a CBO). However, they do provide some of the highest concentrations of disabled job seekers that you are likely to find and they can often provide you with other related services and supports.

It goes without saying that you should develop solid contacts with disability-focused organizations within your recruiting territory – particularly those CBOs that provide training/education/employment services to individuals with disabilities.

As a first step, you should develop an inventory of CBOs in your recruiting territory. You might consider a standardized format for this data that would include:

·         How many people with disabilities do they place annually?

·         What percentage of those have the kinds of skill sets that you are seeking?

·         How do they screen assess their clients?

·         What other services will they provide you with? (i.e. Some CBOs can also provide you with job accommodation support, in-house disability-related staff training, etc.)

·         What post-placement support do they offer you and/or the employee? (i.e. Many CBOs provide post-placement retention-focused support.)

·         What mechanisms does the CBO have to be kept alerted to your recruiting needs and to keep you alerted to prospective applicants?

·         What other companies you can contact for references on their services?

You might want to consider using the CBO assessment tool developed by Mainstream Inc. (See: http://www.diversityworld.com/Disability/DN04/DN0410.htm
#item.5)

Government Agencies – Many government agencies, at local, state and federal levels, to provide services that support people with disabilities in their efforts to secure employment. These can vary from state to state and community to community. Some are more strictly focused on job placement than others.

State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies exist in virtually every State and, among other responsibilities, are charged with securing “employment outcomes” for their clients. (For contact information on State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies, see http://www.jan.wvu.edu/SBSES/VOCREHAB.HTM )

Most States have a Governor’s Committee on employment concerns for people with disabilities. These can be an excellent source of referral and information on how to target your recruiting efforts. For a listing of Governor’s Committees, see State Liaisons)

The Employer Assistance Referral Network (EARN) assists employers to locate and recruit qualified workers with disabilities. Through a single national toll free number, 1-866-327-6669, well-informed technical assistance specialists will take employers job orders, seek out qualified local candidates, and return this information to the employer. (See: http://www.earnworks.com/ )

Each year, the Workforce Recruitment Program for College Students with Disabilities (WRP) offers employers a free data base over 1000 pre-screened graduating students with disabilities. These students are from across the Country and represent a broad spectrum of educational pursuits. (See: http://www.wrpjobs.com )

Educational Institutions - Every year, a talented new “crop” of students with disabilities graduate from high schools, colleges and universities. Don’t overlook this great source of emerging talent.

In a very proactive move, some larger companies have begun to use employees with disabilities to take the lead role in recruiting disabled students.

Virtually every educational institution now has a “Special Needs Office” that provides supports to students with disabilities. That is a great place to start. Contact someone there and discuss how your company can best target students with disabilities on their campus. Sometimes you will be directed to the Campus Career Center, sometimes the Special needs office will work with you directly and sometimes, like the University of California Berkeley, there will even be a Career Center just for students and alumni with disabilities.

If you are not sure who to contact on a particular campus, the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) may be of help to you. Committed to full participation in higher education for persons with disabilities, most of its Members are in disability-related services on campuses throughout North America. (See: http://www.ahead.org )

In an effort to enhance employment for college graduates with disabilities, the national Disability Career Project has the goal of creating a collation between employers, university career services, and disability services personnel, and disability service organizations. (See: http://www.cosdonline.org)

Generally, students with disabilities aren’t as well-organized as those from other minority groups; but a new national alliance is emerging – The National Disabled Students Union. (See: http://www.disabledstudents.org ) In addition, there is the National Alliance of Blind Students (NABS). (See: http://www.blindstudents.org)

Some Colleges and Universities are aggressive about attracting students with disabilities and have a higher-than average concentration in their student bodies. Two prominent examples are Gallaudet University (http://www.gallaudet.edu ) and the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (http://ntidweb.rit.edu ) – both of which cater particularly to Deaf students.

In addition to direct recruiting, don’t neglect Internship opportunities. Internships have proven to be an excellent way to prospect talent and to groom future employees. Make every effort to include students with disabilities in your Internship program. Be sure to explore internship possibilities with all your recruiting contacts for students with disabilities. For a fee, you can secure some highly-qualified students in technical fields from the Entry Point program of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). (See: http://www.entrypoint.org )

Job Fairs - In many communities, Job Fairs that target job seekers with disabilities are held annually. These job fairs can give you immediate access to current job seekers. They can give you an opportunity to heighten your profile within the disability community and they give you an opportunity to strengthen your ties to local CBOs. If there isn’t such a Job Fair in your community, consider partnering with other companies or CBOs to hold one. A manual for planning and holding disability-focused Job Fairs is available (free) from: Email: dunlap-carol@dol.gov

Online Recruiting - The Internet has opened a new world of recruiting opportunities for companies, large and small.  Take full advantage of the opportunities that it affords you to recruit people with disabilities. 

Assuming that you have a “jobs”, “careers”, and/or “diversity” section on your company’s website, make sure that it is “disability friendly” in both format and content. Ask your Webmaster to ensure that your website meets at least minimum standards for web accessibility. (If they don’t know where to start, point them to “Bobby” Standards at www.cast.org/bobby/) Whether through pictures or text, communicate your proactive interest in candidates with disabilities.

If you are using online services to post jobs and/or search resumes, determine whether or not those sites are accessible to people with disabilities and what efforts they make to include people with disabilities in their talent pool.

There are a growing number of recruiting sites on the Internet that help employers to target candidates with disabilities. Many of these are listed at  http://www.diversityworld.com/Disability/recruit.htm.

(Return to Top)

 

Proactive Projects

One of the most successful approaches that I have seen for recruiting people with disabilities has been the development of what I call “Proactive Projects”. Going beyond “general” recruiting strategies of a company, these are specific and deliberate initiatives to bring people with disabilities into their workforces. They are typically done in partnership with a CBO or Educational institution. They have the advantage of concrete and measurable results, they can often be duplicated in other departments/branches of a company, and they tend to quickly heighten the level of disability expertise within a company. Proactive Projects can assume may forms; here are just a few examples:

Contracting - One large company contracted its in-house print shop to a CBO. The CBO ran the print shop and employed people with disabilities to do so. The host company then recruited from that pool of workers for job openings in other parts of their operations. Similarly, another company contracted a heavily clerical part of their operation out to a CBO that already ran a clerical training program – again directly recruiting employees from that talent pool. (See: State Compensation Insurance Fund State Fund in the Community

Training - A company with a chain of hardware stores collaborated with a CBO and a community college to develop and run a 6-month training program for cashiers and agreed to hire all graduates of the course. The course included classroom instruction and in-store work experience. This model has been used successfully by both individual companies (i.e. a company with a large call center recruited customer service operators this way and a large retail store uses this model as an ongoing recruiting tool) and by collaborating companies within a particular sector (i.e. several banks collaborated to train/recruit bank tellers and 10 hotels banded together to recruit assistant chefs.) A very useful book on this “Skills Training Partnerships” model is available for $10 from the Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work (Email: cmacdiarmid@ccrw.org)

Mentoring - One company set up a Mentoring program with several CBOs. Several  times annually, a dozen employees of the company were paired with selected job seekers with disabilities from the CBOs. The company’s employees served as job-search Mentors for a three-month period. Naturally, the company hired several of the best candidates. (Contact: info@diversityworld.com)

 

(Return to Top)

 

Public Profile

As I pointed out earlier, people with disabilities are unlikely to be found congregated in a way that makes targeted recruiting as easy as you would like it to be. Any good recruiting strategy, for job seekers with disabilities, will include portraying a disability-friendly profile to the general public.

People with disabilities are spread throughout virtually every level of society – every age group, every cultural institution, every ethnic/racial group, and every social/economic class. This “dispersion” is what makes your general public profile so important! Carefully consider how people with disabilities are portrayed in your advertising, merchandising, and recruiting media. If you are able to portray yourself as a company that values the contribution of people with disabilities, it is likely that job seekers with disabilities will gravitate to you. (Particularly when people with disabilities want to avoid the discrimination and awkwardness that is so prevalent in most of their contact with employers.)

Even small companies can make big statements. I remember, several years ago, walking into a store that had a sign on its door that read: “Customers and job applicants with disabilities are welcome. Please see customer service if you need any assistance.” I also remember the bank that hired a Deaf Teller – within weeks, in addition to a significant increase in Deaf customers, they received numerous applications from qualified candidates with a variety of different disabilities.

Not long ago, I remember seeing a recruiting brochure from a major corporation. They had been careful to include photographs of men and women from different racial and ethnic backgrounds. They also included an attractive photo of a young man in a wheelchair. Unfortunately, this picture was not on the pages about career opportunities; but on the “Community Involvement” page that outlined their various charitable endeavors. What a different message this brochure would have communicated to disabled readers if that photo had been on the “Careers in Engineering” page!

(Return to Top)

 

Dismantling Attitudinal Barriers

Be mindful of attitudinal barriers in your organization that can scuttle all your best efforts.  “Disability” is an emotionally-charged, misinformation-prone issue.

  • 22% of employers report co-worker stereotypes and attitudes a major barrier to employment/advancement of people with disabilities[1].
  • 15% of non-disabled people report discomfort at the prospect of working for, or nearby, a person with a disability[2].
  • 40% of disabled workers report encountering on-the-job discrimination[3].

Recruiters, Hiring Managers, even co-workers with misinformation and/or bad attitudes can effectively block or hinder your best efforts. Be sure that your part of your recruiting strategy is to educate and inform your non-disabled workforce! Wouldn’t it be great if applicants with disabilities were swept into your company on a wave of enthusiasm and support!

Training Seminars - Many local CBOs and Departments of Rehabilitation offer free training available to employers in their areas. For a fee, articulate people with disabilities are available in most areas to address topics such as reasonable accommodations, the ADA, disability etiquette, etc.

Several great videos are available. One of the best is the Ten Commandments of Communicating with People With Disabilities. It also comes with handouts and a training module. (See: www.diversityshop.com/store/10comvid.html)

If you want to run your own internal training seminars, rather than develop your own, you might check out the free curriculum offered by California State University Northridge at www.csun.edu/~sp20558/dis/emcurcon.html?113,133) The most widely-used program in North America is the WINDMILLS Attitudinal Training Program. (Contact: info@diversityworld.com Train-the-trainer sessions are available from Milt Wright & Associates www.miltwright.com)

Online Information - A wealth of great informational resources already exist online. Provide your employees with links to some of the best sites that you can find.  A good starting place on the Internet is the California Business Leadership Network (See: www.cabln.org) If you have one, your corporate Intranet is an effective place to keep pertinent information for your employees. I worked with one company to compile extensive resources on disability issues – recruiting, interviewing, accommodating, supervising, developing/promoting, etc. It is an effective way to have critical information at your employees’ fingertips.

Personal Interaction - Direct, face-to-face interaction is the most powerful way to break down attitudinal barriers. Take advantage of every opportunity to give your employees direct contact with people with disabilities. This contact will do a lot to overcome any uncertainty discomfort and misinformation that your employees are harboring. I have already suggested getting your employees involved with Mentoring programs, hiring Interns, and inviting guest speakers with disabilities. Here are a few more suggestions:

  •       Mock and Informational Interviews – Most CBOs value “Mock” interviews as a way for their job seekers to hone their interviewing skills. They also value “Informational” interviews as a way for their job seekers to gain industry-specific information on their career interests. Consider offering such interviews to clients of a local CBO. It is a comfortable way for your employees to increase their own “disability competence”.

  •       Internal Training “Scholarships” – Some companies, again partnering with CBOs, have made some or all of their internal training courses free to job seekers with disabilities. This is truly a “win/win” proposition. For little or no cost to the company, such arrangements enable people with disabilities to gain more marketable skills – while they give company employees the opportunity to interact directly with people with disabilities and thereby increase their disability comfort/acumen. Also, more than one company has snagged a good employee this way! (For a good model of this, see Project HIRED’s Corporate Training Partnership Program: www.projecthired.org)

  •       Job Fairs – Although they were mentioned earlier, one company used a Job Fair for job seekers with disabilities as a great opportunity staff development. Instead of staffing their booth with 2 or 3 employees for the whole day, they changed shifts every hour – giving over a dozen employees the opportunity to interact with job seekers and to see the related exhibits on accommodations and access technologies.

  •      National Disability Mentoring Day – October 24 is National Disability Mentoring day. It is sponsored by the US Department of Labor, Office on Disability Policy. It is an exceptionally good opportunity to involve your employees in a positive interaction with students with disabilities. (See: www.cabln.org/mentoring_day.htm)


Last Word

According to every study conducted in North American workplaces, people with disabilities have proven themselves to excel in performance and reliability. Companies that have taken the extra effort to dismantle their own internal reticence and to proactively tap into this labor pool have reaped the rewards - and continue to do so.


[1] Implementation of the Provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Survey of 1400 Members of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), March 1999.
[2] Gallup and Robinson Survey reported by Training Resources Infolines Update Oct/00.
[3] Harris Poll, 2000.

(Return to Top)


Enriching Our Workplaces

By Rob McInnes

A few years ago I attended a meeting focused on employment and disability issues and led by a well-meaning corporate executive. Early in the meeting, and new to the field of employment and disability issues, he jumped to a white board and wrote down two phrases; “Business has a shortage of labor” and “70% unemployment for people with disabilities”. He then confidently announced that we had successfully defined the problem and solution, we only needed to identify the strategies to achieve our goals and, within six months, we will have solved the unemployment issue for people with disabilities. Having already spent over 20 years of my life on the “problem”, I was somewhat less confident than he was.

While much progress has been made in North America over the past four decades or so, there are still major issues to be addressed on the fronts of educational policy, technology, human rights, attitudinal change, social policy, transportation, etc. This has been a long haul and will likely continue to be one.

For those of us who are engaged in the struggle, whether as professionals in the “field” or as individual job seekers, it is easy to become weary and disillusioned. Because of this, I think it is important for each of us to consciously hold to some event, experience or vision that can motivate and empower us when we are dispirited.

Most recently, my own motivation has been bolstered by a presentation that I heard at a conference two years ago. A young mother, Terry Boisot, was recounting the years of struggle that it took to have her son Ben accepted into his neighborhood public school – years of confrontation with “authorities” that resisted her desire; because her son’s disabilities were too severe… because he wouldn’t fit in with the activities of the classroom… because he needed more “specialized” education than they could provide… because… because… because. Eventually, Terry’s perseverance paid off and her son was able to attend his neighborhood school. But, she said, she was now tired. With tears welling in her eyes, she told the audience how exhausted she was from her battle to win her son a place in his school. She explained that although he was now happy and thriving in school, she was already looking ahead to his graduation – when he would face the world of employment – where workplaces are every bit as resistant to people with disabilities as his school had been. Her voice quivering, Terry expressed her fear that she won’t have the strength needed to once again overcome the prejudicial attitudes and practices that would militate against Ben finding his place of productivity and belonging – this time, in the workforce.

Terry’s situation, representing that of thousands of other families, has given me a touchstone for my own work in the disability/employment arena – the conscious awareness that every little advance that we make, today or this week or next, will increase the employment opportunities that Ben (as all other children with disabilities) will have when he graduates.

I remember another meeting that I attended. I had been asked to comment on disability issues as it pertained to diversity in the workplace. The audience was primarily workforce diversity professionals from companies in the Silicon Valley. This was also a few years ago, when high tech companies were really flourishing. I remember the hush that fell over the room as I said that, in my opinion, the workplaces in the Silicon Valley were “impoverished”. Impoverished, I explained from their lack of true diversity – from the lack of vitality and energy from a workforce where employees were invited to bring their unique selves fully into the workplace. Impoverished by workplaces where diversity is politely acknowledged; but differences aren’t truly valued and where employees still leave their true authenticity at home.

There is a definitely a qualitative difference that true diversity brings to a workplace. Over and over, I hear from employers (who have hired people with disabilities) try to express it; but just can’t find the words. I wish it had a name. I wish that it could be quantified; but it remains a mysterious “I can’t put my finger on it; but something has really changed.”

It is strange and sad that, in the early 21st century, most North American workplaces are still highly resistant to the idea of having people with disabilities on their payroll. It is strange and sad that subjective attitudes and erroneous beliefs are still at the root of most of that resistance. At the same time, it is a wondrous experience to occasionally encounter workplaces that have made the transformation – and to imagine a day when all workplaces will value and cultivate the contribution of employees with disabilities.

Going back to my earlier reference to Terry and Ben, I was thrilled to receive a recent update on Ben’s school life. I think it is a great testament to the unexpected experiences that lie in wait on the other side of the barriers of fears and prejudice.

Terry recounts…

“Ben has been included in the regular classroom of his neighborhood schools since kindergarten. The neighborhood school didn't want him at first - that was more than 8 years ago. Now they don't know what to do without him. Last Thursday evening Ben participated in a school awards ceremony. He sat in his wheelchair in the front row with 30 other kids on stage for an hour. He couldn't see the audience, but he knew his sister and I were there somewhere. He kept signing ‘Mom,’ and when one-handed signing got no action, he signed with both. Every now and then he would throw in a ‘Michelle,’ (his sister). His arms were flailing most of the event and the other kids on stage weren't distracted. I was. Near the end of the program, the principal approached the podium and by the 3rd sentence we knew this award was for Ben. He beamed from ear to ear. While it has been the highest form of honor to be Ben's mother, it has also been an honor to know the people who learn to recognize the value of all kids. To witness the transformation of people is extremely moving.”

These were the words of Ben’s Principal…

“The Principal’s Award recognizes a student who has made a difference to our school during their two years at Goleta Valley Junior High. This student caught my attention from the first day. Once in a while, someone crosses your path and, without meaning to, has the most profound effect on your life. This happened to me last year and has continued throughout this year. I have learned about new things to value in my life in ways I never expected or thought possible. He touches my life and the lives of others and makes a difference every single day at Goleta Valley. Wherever he goes and whatever he does, he changes people’s outlook and makes us evaluate our values and beliefs. He reminds you with his smile and his laugh that he loves being here, loves his classes and teachers, and loves learning. He has so much to offer and I for one have taken advantage of this unique opportunity. His persistence and commitment has been inspiring and we are so lucky that he shares himself with us unconditionally – a most beautiful and precious gift that I know I will always cherish. There was no doubt in my mind that the Principal Award belongs to him. It is with deep respect and admiration that I give this to him. Please help me recognize BENJAMIN BOISOT.”

Let us all be empowered with the belief that the impoverished workplaces of today will one day be likewise enriched by the contribution of Ben and all the other students with disabilities who are presently working their ways through our schools with hope and excitement for their futures.

© Rob McInnes, Diversity World, 2003

(Return to Top)


Interviewing Issues

For companies that want to be successful at hiring people with disabilities, interviewing applicants with disabilities is a particularly critical issue to address. Often times interviewers are overly nervous and uncomfortable when interviewing an applicant with a disability. This discomfort is typically based on one or more of the following:

1. Their unfamiliarity with disability-related etiquette and communication issues.
2. Their concerns about the legal issues that enforce non-discrimination in the interview process.
3. Their lack of experience in interacting with people with disabilities and the fear of uncertainty that arises from this.

Unless an interviewer can find a way to be comfortable in interviewing candidates with disabilities, they are unlikely to be ineffective. Without a level of comfort, they will probably not be able to thoroughly probe the interviewees or resolve any disability-related concerns that they have. Without being able to accomplish this, they will not have complete confidence in the interviewee's ability to do the job - and the interviewee will not be hired.

There are many online resources that provide interviewers with information on the legal guidelines that they need to know - and others that outline the basic etiquette and communication issues that need to be considered. In most communities, government agencies and community organizations can provide employers with additional printed information and/or on-site training on these issues.

Experience, however, is the only cure for lack of experience. Companies should consider providing opportunities for their hiring managers and/or recruiters to interact directly with people with a variety of disabilities. Interestingly, many organizations that provide employment services to people with disabilities are looking for opportunities for their clients to practice and hone their interviewing skills. Scheduling "mock interviews" is an ideal way for businesses and disability-related organizations to partner on a project of mutual benefit.

© Rob McInnes, Diversity World, 2004

(Return to Top)


 

inclusionRX - Your monthly Dose
Read the current edition of our monthly newsletter, InclusionRX

diversityshop
tools for change
visit our online store

Some of the items you will find...

A Difference of Ability A Difference of Ability:
why job-seekers with disabilities and employers have difficulty connecting effectively - and how that can change.
JCSsm.gif Job Coaching Strategies
goal-oriented staff development program of best practices in supported employment
Open Futures - Career Exploration for people with disabilities. Open Futures
Set of two videos and a CDROM help students with disabilities to set their sights on career goals!

 


 

 

 

 

 


Logo: Diversity World
© Diversity World, 1999 - 2014
info@diversityworld.com Tel:
204-487-0307