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You At Your Best -Reasonable Adjustments in the Recruitment Process

by Bella Bennett


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The inspiration for this article came from a conversation I recently had with a candidate, who was uncertain whether their specific needs during the recruitment process constituted a reasonable adjustment. This interaction led me to a startling realisation; the concept of an "unreasonable" adjustment is completely flawed. Moreover, there is still a profound lack of confidence in asking for such adjustments to be made, for fear of its perceived negative impact.

Many people are still grappling with how extensive their rights are in relation to the recruitment process, especially regarding reasonable adjustments for disabilities and neurodiversity. Historically, individuals with both visible and invisible disabilities have faced significant barriers and biases, making the prospect of requesting adjustments daunting and seemingly disadvantageous from the start. 

We acknowledge that prejudicial experiences in the past can justifiably affect an individual's willingness to be open and forthright at the beginning of the process. We recognise that restoring this trust is a gradual process, achieved by building confidence through numerous real-world instances where outcomes have been positively different.

At Tile Hill, our commitment to Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) is the cornerstone of our operations. It not only shapes our internal Employee Value Proposition (EVP) but also serves as our guiding principle in every partnership. When collaborating with clients to understand a job brief, we first delve into the nuances of their EDI proposition so we can fully understand their commitment to inclusion. This process is often advisory, where we provide support for the client, helping them structure and understand their offering to ensure equitable opportunities for all. 

Therefore, as a candidate, we encourage candid discussions with your recruiter about necessary adjustments at the outset of the process. We will promise to advocate tirelessly on your behalf. To ensure you get the adjustments you require to provide you with the best possible opportunity to bring the very best of yourself to the interview process.

By partnering with a reputable recruitment agency this process can be more transparent, as recruiters can guide you through all available adjustments and how they, along with employers, can accommodate your needs. While the following list of adjustments is extensive, it is not exhaustive. Early and open dialogue with your recruiter is key to accessing the support you deserve.

Examples of reasonable adjustments

Virtual meetings supported by chat boxes.
Chat Boxes can help facilitate real-time communication for candidates who may require written exchanges or need additional processing time.

Extended time during interviews and assessments
This ensures candidates are not rushed, allowing for thorough responses and reducing stress, particularly beneficial for individuals with processing disorders or anxiety.

Keeping interview schedules consistent. 

A big part of making the recruitment process welcoming is avoiding last-minute changes or rushing interview dates. Surprises can unnecessarily increase stress levels, especially for those dealing with anxiety. Sticking to a clear schedule and giving candidates plenty of notice not only reduces anxiety, but also shows support for everyone's needs. By keeping things predictable and providing sufficient notice, the interview will provide you with the best platform to showcase your skills.

Flexible interview formats
This could include many types of accommodations. For example, the interview setup can be tailored to accommodate various needs, such as avoiding U-shaped seating arrangements for those with hearing impairments or those who usually rely on lip reading.

Support for neurodivergent applicants
As recruitment consultants we can proofread your supporting statements or provide questions in advance. These types of services can significantly aid those with neurodivergence, ensuring they can fully express their qualifications and potential.

Alternative communication methods
For candidates with hearing impairments, using Microsoft Teams or other platforms for call backs can facilitate lip-reading or use of sign language interpreters. Providing significant advantage to the candidate over a phone call. This accommodation can also be made for other interactions with consultants, such as receiving feedback, prep calls etc.

Accessible interview locations
Ensuring that there is physical access through blue badge parking, lifts, ramps, and other necessary infrastructure means that candidates with mobility challenges have the requisite accessibility throughout the face-to-face interview process.

Adaptations for medical needs
Flexibility around interview scheduling to accommodate medical appointments or treatments is essential for candidates undergoing medical procedures. Although sharing private medical information may be daunting, disclosing such needs ensures that the necessary accommodations can be promptly arranged, provided the recruiting parties are informed.

Establishing an open dialogue.

Remember, requesting an adjustment will not negatively impact your application. Open channels of communication, whether through direct contact with recruiters or through specified channels on job platforms, should be established early. This clear communication allows you as a candidate to express your specific needs without fear of having to do this later in the process or worse still, attempt to struggle through a process that is unnecessarily disadvantageous to you. 

Stay in touch.
We hope you have found this article useful, and we would welcome a conversation with you to discuss some of these points in more detail. We also invite you to stay engaged with us as we explore further topics related to equality, diversity, and inclusion.


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