Transcript of ESBHR Podcast #18: Don’t Be Afraid of the Disabled Job Candidate
Listen to the audio.
Many employers are uncomfortable with considering physically disabled candidates for job openings.
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It’s the one form of hiring discrimination that seems to be the hardest to overcome. I once heard someone liken being disabled with being an invisible minority.
I think that our discomfort has a lot to do with something very simple and honest… a lack of understanding of how to approach and interact with someone who is disabled.
We are taught as children not to stare at someone in a wheelchair for example; or not to ask any questions about how it may feel to be disabled. As we move into adulthood, curiosity turns to discomfort.
These good intentions borne from our desire to make disabled people feel comfortable only serves to make some individuals feel alienated or excluded.
Some things to think about as an employer when interviewing an employee with a physical disability:
- Don’t make assumptions about what type of work a person with a disability is or is not capable of doing.
- We should take the time to discuss experience and skills before pigeonholing a candidate and assuming that the person is not qualified for a particular job.
- Seek advice from the experts. Most if not all states have resources available to employers who have questions about the Americans With Disabilities Act, and how to make accommodations for people with disabilities.
These resources can also be very helpful with answering any questions that you may have regarding interviewing and hiring people with disabilities.
Start by Googling the words State Agencies For Disabilities to find organizations in your state.
I hope to be able to interview an expert in the area of hiring physically challenged employees in a future episode of Employee Hiring and Managing Tips so stay tuned!
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