Essential Strategies for Recruiting Candidates with Disabilities

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) and it’s the perfect time to recognize working individuals with disabilities. It’s also the perfect reminder to evaluate your organization’s recruiting approaches and seek ways to improve how you hire this group of talent for your open roles.

Recruiting individuals with disabilities has been increasing over the years and it’s an area where you can find highly qualified candidates to widen your talent pool. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2021, the BLS statistics reveal that 19.1 percent of persons with a disability were employed, up from 17.9 percent in 2020.

Sourcing these individuals can have a very similar strategy to your normal recruiting efforts, but there are additional practices and requirements you may want to consider. A specific requirement you should understand is whether your organization is considered a federal contractor or subcontractor and must meet compliance standards.

Are you a Federal Contractor or Subcontractor?

Recruiters should know when seeking to hire individuals with disabilities if their organization is required to meet certain specifications provided by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) regulations and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The law prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities and requires affirmative action employment practices for these individuals.

Section 503 applies to:

  • Organizations (Supply & Service and Construction) with a federal contract or subcontract in excess of $15,000

  • Those organizations (Supply & Service and Construction) with 50 or more employees and a qualifying contract of $50,000 or more, must also have an affirmative action plan (AAP) in place for individuals with disabilities

If your organization does qualify as a contractor, you’ll need to follow certain requirements. For more on jurisdictional thresholds and inflationary adjustments for Section 503, visit here.

Tips for Recruiting Individuals with Disabilities

Building an all-inclusive culture that supports equal employment standards provides a fantastic opportunity to build a workplace that’s comfortable and flexible for everyone. One of your first steps for successfully recruiting individuals with disabilities should be to evaluate your current job descriptions, applications, and hiring practices.

Additionally, you should:

  • Craft-well written job descriptions that are inclusive and encouraging

  • Post open roles with job services and workforce employment centers

  • Establish internal policies that focus on employing individuals with disabilities

  • Express a commitment to an inclusive workplace through disability awareness

  • Make online applications fully accessible and use adaptive software

Partners and Outreach

Building a community filled with committed partners who support your recruiting efforts will provide a great resource for your organization. You can do this by reaching out to disability-related advocacy groups, college centers, nonprofits, and national, state, and local disability organizations.

Don’t forget to include employees with disabilities in your diversity recruitment goals. They can help inspire new talent and make them feel comfortable when applying for an open role. Being known as an organization that is diverse and inclusive for everyone builds your brand reputation and may increase productivity and innovation.

Evaluate your Technology

With the fast-paced changes in technology, you’ll want to make sure you’re digitally accessible. You’ll want all aspects of your job advertisement along with your organization’s career page and website to be as user-friendly as possible. By implementing the latest web guidelines, you’ll be able to support those who have a wide range of disabilities including visual, auditory, physical, speech, cognitive, language, learning, and more.

Do you have Reasonable Accommodations?

When recruiting individuals with disabilities, ensure your organization can provide accommodations to support your applicants so they can confidently participate in the job application process. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) and under the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), an employer is required to provide reasonable accommodations to a qualified applicant or employee with a disability unless the employer can show that the accommodation would be an undue hardship. Meaning that the cost to the employer would be a significant difficulty or expense.

Reasonable accommodations may include:

  • Providing or modifying equipment or devices;

  • Part-time or modified work schedule;

  • Adjusting or modifying examinations, training materials, or policies;

  • Providing readers and interpreters; and

  • Making the workplace readily accessible to and usable by people with disabilities 

Theme for 2022

NDEAM celebrates the contributions of America’s workers with disabilities past and present and showcases supportive, inclusive employment policies and practices. The theme for NDEAM 2022 is “Disability: Part of the Equity Equation.” Find the official 2022 NDEAM poster here.

Avoid Bias

Bias and unconscious bias in your job descriptions, website, and social media profiles can create barriers for everyone including individuals with disabilities --resulting in fewer applications for your open roles. Removing any bias and crafting skills-based information with the proper language can improve the perception of what you represent, reveal how employees feel, and indicate why an individual should join your organization.

Disclaimer: The above is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to offer legal advice or to guarantee regulatory or legal compliance. Consult with the appropriate legal or compliance professional.

If you’re a federal contractor or subcontractor, looking for a robust compliance solution, JobTarget’s OFCCP offerings can automate much of the job posting and listing requirements and provide integral support during an audit. Click below to contact us to learn more.

OFCCP Violations Carry Serious Consequences

The JobTarget OFCCP Guide will help you understand:

  • What is the OFCCP

  • What OFCCP regulations apply to you

  • What key things your organization must comply with

  • How to minimize your compliance risks

  • How to prepare for a possible audit

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