How to Interview Candidates with Disabilities: 6 Points You Must Know
Published on: 15 Mar, 2023
If you are reading this blog, congratulations! You have already started your inclusive hiring/recruitment journey. Hiring persons with disabilities for your organisation can be a challenging process, especially if it's your first time.
As India’s largest inclusive platform that generates livelihood opportunities for PwDs, we have useful and effective suggestions to get you started. These points have been drawn from our own and companies’ (who have hired disabled candidates) experiences.
1) An Accessible Interview Location
Simple and mindful changes can ease the candidate before the interview. This includes making sure the entrance, interview room, and bathroom facilities are wheelchair accessible. Avoid visiting spaces that may be a barrier such as stairs, narrow doorways, or tight spaces. If it is online, then provide the link in advance and wait patiently for the candidate to settle.
2) An Accessible Online Interview
Provide the link in advance and wait patiently for the candidate to settle. If the candidate is hearing impaired, turn on your video, close captions and extra time for response. Place yourself in a well-lit area so that people with low vision can see you. Be open to typing the question and receiving the answer in the chat.
3) Additional Assistance
During the interview process, it is important to ask the candidate if they require any accommodations to ensure they can fully participate in the interview process. Accommodations may include sign language interpreters, Braille materials, or assistive technology. By asking candidates directly, you are showing that you value their needs and are committed to creating an inclusive environment.
4) Use Appropriate Language
By using language that will not further encourage stereotypes or prove demeaning, you are proving that your organisation is truly inclusive.
Avoid using terms like "wheelchair-bound" or "handicapped" and instead, use person-first language. For example, say "a person with a disability" instead of "a disabled person." Additionally, avoid making assumptions or stereotypes about a candidate's disability. Instead, focus on their skills, qualifications, and experiences.
5) Be Clear & Communicate Effectively
Make sure to provide clear instructions to candidates before the interview. This includes information on the interview process, the format of the interview, and any materials the candidate needs to bring. During the interview, make sure to communicate effectively, which may involve allowing the candidate extra time to answer questions or providing written materials instead of verbal instructions.
6) Be Open To Adapt
Be open to adapting new interview and question formats. For instance, a visually impaired candidate may need you to read questions aloud or may need additional time to answer. Neurodivergent candidates may not understand social norms or cues, so explain again if required.
By making the necessary accommodations, communicating effectively, and focusing on the candidate's qualifications, you can create an environment that welcomes all candidates and allows them to showcase their skills and abilities. Remember, creating an inclusive environment is not only the right thing to do, but it can also benefit your organization by attracting a diverse pool of talented candidates.
Basic Dos and Donts
- Tailor the interview in a way that emphasizes the abilities and achievements of the candidate
- Speak directly to the candidate and maintain eye contact rather than interacting with an interpreter or companion.
- Do not shout or speak fast. Use a neutral tone, unless required otherwise.
- When interviewing a candidate with hearing impairment, look at them. Keep your hands away from your mouth. Do not speak when the interpreter is communicating with the candidate
- When interviewing a candidate with visual impairment, identify yourself and others who are with you.
- As a good practice, always ask candidates with any disability if they require help before and after the interview. Do not assume and start helping.