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Photo by Rachel Cherry

Ten top tips for accessible recruitment

Unlimited, in its current form, has been recruiting for disabled trainees since 2013. What have we learnt about accessible recruitment? Jo Verrent, Senior Producer for Unlimited, gives us her top ten tips…

    1. Target where you advertise – find out where disabled people might be, and go out of your way to ensure your adverts get to different people and places. Have you involved your local Deaf Centre, contacted Disability Arts companies, the disability units and local colleges and Universities? There are lots of places out there including advertising via Unlimited, Shape Arts and DAO.


    1. Get to grips with the Social Model – understand that it’s not people’s impairments that hold them back, it’s the way society doesn’t account for the needs of disabled people. Watch our quick animation for a start – audio described version here.


    1. Be clear you want a diverse workforce – the benefits of diversity are well known and yet most workforces are startlingly similar. If you want a diverse workforce, mention it in your adverts so that people take the risk and apply, even if they don’t seem to be like everyone else there.


    1. If disabled people are welcome – tell us! It does make a difference. Tell us that you can meet our access needs at interview or that you have a guaranteed interview scheme for disabled people that meet the core criteria for a role (this is because sometimes access barriers have stopped us getting the same levels of additional experience as non disabled people).


    1. Accessible formats – Being open to people applying in different ways is a good start, especially if you have an inaccessible online application process. Think about video options too – for many people these are a much better way of getting themselves across.


    1. Ringfenced opportunities – if you have few disabled people on your staff, you may not know the barriers you have in place (as there is no one there to tell you). What about having disabled only work placements, or paid internships for a while, to see what you can learn about how accessible – or not – your organisation is?


    1. Access and Access to Work – be prepared to meet people’s access needs, and read up on the Government scheme – Access to Work – that meets the additional costs of employing disabled people. Have a read of some of experiences that Unlimited staff have had with Access to Work.


    1. Disabled people on recruitment panels – it’s so reassuring when you go into an interview process and there are disabled people involved. You know you will be looked at for your skills, talent and potential and not just summed up in relation to access. Try it – and see the difference it makes.


    1. Be open – if there are access barriers in place at your workplace, be open about them, don’t try and hide them. Some things can be overcome, and others can’t. It is always worth checking with others for opinions – someone might have a creative solution you haven’t thought about yet.


    1. Be prepared to change – This isn’t disability specific. Different people do things differently. The more flexible and adaptable you can be, the better you can meet the needs of your workforce. Always think ‘how can I get the best out of this person?’ Rather than ‘will this person fit in to how we usually do things’?

For further insight, watch our short film focusing on accessible recruitment. An audio described version is available here.

Find out more:

Unlimited’s Social Model Animation 

Advice for organisations looking to be more inclusive of disabled people –

Disability Confident: how to sign up to the employer scheme

Beyond Tick Boxes 

Access to Work –

About Access to Work

Accessing Access to Work

Access and ambiguity in the arts

Flexible processes and creating a supportive environment for disabled employees –

Access: Disability Confident etiquette

Access: Flexible working

Access: Staff with autoimmune conditions

Invisible impairments. See MAYK Mental Health Policy


Top tips for accessible marketing

Unlimited Resources

Demystifying Access Resource Pack