One of the worst kept secrets in recruitment is there are still plenty of employers who are not very keen on hiring disabled people for a particular job opportunity in their organization. At times, well-qualified and deserving candidates are ignored for less-deserving candidates that are not suffering from any disability. At the other end of the spectrum, recruiters have to cope with physically-challenged yet deserving candidates who aren’t very confident about coping with the work responsibilities assigned to them. Their disability saps at their confidence and they begin to question their own suitability for a particular job.
Your job as a recruiter is to find the right candidate for a particular job, or if you think from the job searcher’s perspective, you need to put through a particular candidate to the right job. Through the course of your work, what if you come across a disabled person who you think is a perfect fit for a particular job opportunity? In such cases, you need to keep a few things in mind while hiring this person. Although we would like to believe the process of hiring a disabled person shouldn’t be different from that of hiring a non-disabled person, such thinking might not help you in the hunt for the right candidate.
Let’s take a look at some of the aspects you must consider if you are planning to hire a disabled person for a particular job:
Can the workplace be easily accessed by the person/can the person move around the workplace without difficulty?
Now there are organizations who make it a point to make their building/office space and the surroundings more accessible for the disabled. But what if you are hiring for organization whose premises are not very disabled friendly. In such cases, if the person is mobility challenged, and uses a wheelchair for movement, he might not be a perfect fit for the particular job opportunity. Quite obviously the fault in this case lies with prospective employer, but it makes no sense to hire the person for a particular position in that organization and make life difficult for him.
In such cases, it’s better to talk to such employers and know whether they are willing to implement the necessary changes that will make their workplace more accessible for disabled persons. If the answer is a yes, go ahead, if it’s a no, it’s advisable not to hire that person.
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What are the prospective employer’s views about hiring a disabled person?
If an organization has tasked you with finding a candidate to fill in a particular vacancy, it isn’t going to categorically tell you not to line up a disabled candidate. However, it’s important that as a recruiter, you have a very clear idea of who the employer will deem to be a suitable candidate. There is no point in lining up a particular candidate, who sails through the selection process, but the employer finally decides not to hire the candidate because he’s uncomfortable with hiring a disabled person. This is something akin to a humiliation for the candidate involved, and you don’t want to put him through it, do you? So, make sure you are well aware about where the prospective employers stand as far as hiring disabled people for their workforce is concerned.
Also, be aware that employers might give you politically correct answers or even a diplomatic answers to a direct question regarding their particular views. Your job is to cotton on to their actual views and select your candidates accordingly.
Where does the candidate stand vis-à-vis the job opportunity?
If and when you do line up an interview for differently abled candidates, it’s important to get into their minds. Talk to them about what they expect from their job and their employers. Also, try and gauge their readiness to take up a particular job opportunity. Find out whether they expect some special consideration from the employer because of their disability. For e.g leeway as far as office timings are concerned. Make sure you answer all your doubts and any questions you have in your mind, before zeroing in on these candidates. This will also help you judge their levels of confidence in their own ability. If you think the job’s going to put the potential candidate in a pressure cook situation all the time, you need to find somebody who is really very confident about his ability to handle any situation and face any amount of pressure.
It’s all about understanding their problem and “insecurities”:
The disabled face a set of challenges that the abled cannot even begin to imagine. In spite of these challenges, they are willing to ignore their pain and discomfort to work and lead satisfied lives. They do not want their life to be different from anybody else’s, and they don’t want their disability to come in the way of doing their job. As a recruiter you can only help these people land the right job, if you understand the problems they might encounter at the work place and knowing whether they are ready for it. Most people are ready to meet these problems head on, but there is a section of people who need to be convinced to do so. It’s your job as a recruiter to convince them they are the prefect fit for a particular job opportunity.
If you do not keep these things in mind, you might unknowingly force the candidate into a work environment that is not conducive for a disabled person. In the long run, it might just make this person more uncomfortable and less productive. It will make the person less confident about his ability to handle job responsibilities. You play a crucial role in making sure this doesn’t happen.
Author: Lura Peterson is associated with Topmobility.com. They are specialized in pride go go scooters for disabled and senior people. She has written many articles on health issues for disabled people and senior people.