Alternative Interview Formats for Disabled Candidates

Written by CWD Editor
Last updated Friday April 29 2022

One way to be a more inclusive employer is by offering alternative interview formats. Traditional job interviews and applications can be highly exclusionary to many disabled people. They don’t always accommodate various needs and abilities. This can put disabled candidates at a disadvantage before they’ve even started the interview.

Employers often don’t think to offer alternative interview methods or applications because they think there isn’t a demand for them. However, one great way to show you are inclusive of disabled candidates is by advertising alternative interview and application methods. This shows people you are willing to adapt to suit the needs of disabled candidates and non-disabled candidates.

There are many different types of disabilities, both visible and non-visible, and each health condition has its own set of needs. Because of this, it’s important not to assume that one disabled person will require the same adjustments as another. In this guide, we will talk through a few alternative interview and application methods to increase your inclusivity.

Alternative Interview Formats

In some cases, formal interviews can be difficult for people with disabilities to excel and demonstrate their capability for the role at hand. For example, people with chronic fatigue syndrome may find it challenging to participate in an interview for an extensive period without breaks. To remedy this, planned breaks or even a two-part interview on separate days may be preferable. This ensures the candidate has the opportunity to demonstrate their full potential.

Alternatively, someone with mobility issues may struggle to commute to an interview location and having to depend on public transport may add unnecessary additional stress. As a result, the option of a remote interview conducted via Zoom or similar software might bring great relief to disabled candidates. Therefore, it’s great to come up with some other ways you can assess a person’s abilities.

Here are several other alternative interview formats you could adopt to give all candidates a fair chance:

Provide a Project to Complete

You could come up with a trial project to give to candidates to test their skills and abilities in the role. This way, you are allowing candidates to work at their own pace and in their style to meet the task’s demands to the best of their abilities. This is especially useful in creative roles such as graphic design or carpentry, where you will want to see an example of a person’s work before hiring them.

Working Interview

Instead of the traditional sit-down interview, you could instead offer the opportunity to go and work in the office or with the team for a day to see how well they fit into the company. And to assess how well they can complete the role. Lots of people, especially neurodiverse people, function much better in a natural environment like this.

Tour of the Office and Meet the Team

If you want to find out how well somebody would fit into the team, and introduce them to your professional routine, you could offer an informal tour of the office and a chance to meet some staff. While this may not be a direct replacement for an interview, it can be a great way to start an interview and help disabled candidates relax in the environment. It’s also a chance for you to discuss any practical adjustments needed around the office while seeing if they would make a good fit for your team.

Alternative application Formats

As well as providing different ways to conduct an interview, it can be helpful to circulate the application form in a variety of formats to ensure it’s accessible for a variety of needs. Some things you might consider include:

  • Audio format: Providing an audio version of any documents to support those with visual impairments.
  • Braille: Providing a braille version of any documents to support those with any visual or auditory impairments.
  • Large fonts: Providing any documents in large font to support those with visual impairments.

Alternative shortlisting criteria

Another way you may choose to adapt your onboarding process to be more inclusive of disabled candidates is to make reasonable adjustments to your shortlisting criteria. For example, requiring a particular qualification or education from all candidates may indirectly exclude some disabled candidates. Allowing for different shortlisting criteria allows disabled candidates with lesser experience or qualifications to secure an interview. Reducing shortlisting criteria could also open the door to talented individuals who could add significant value to your company.

For both employers and employees, it’s crucial that you understand the rights of a disabled person working. This is not only a legal requirement but also provides additional guidelines on other ways that the workplace can be made more accessible and enjoyable for disabled employees.

The easiest way to be more inclusive of disabled people is to actively encourage them to apply for your roles. Promote your accessible careers to disabled jobseekers across the UK on our market-leading Disability Jobs Board. visit our job advertising credits page for more information or contact our team for further support.

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Last Updated: Friday April 29 2022

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