Making your recruitment process as inclusive as possible

Making your recruitment process as inclusive as possible

The business case for more diversity in the workforce has never been stronger. By advertising with Patchwork Hub, you are already demonstrating a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Despite this, there may be some barriers in your recruitment process that you may not be aware of. This could prevent some highly skilled disabled candidates from applying.

At Patchwork Hub, we work closely with employers to raise awareness of potential barriers in their recruitment process, and how to tackle them. Here are some simple steps you can implement right away to make your recruitment process more inclusive and accessible:

  • Be sure to use inclusive, plain English language to make sure your job description is accessible.

  • Highlight that you will accept applications in alternative formats in your job post.

  • Include accessibility statements on all of your job adverts/job descriptions (see the example template below).

  • Highlight that you will make adjustments and adaptations throughout each stage of the recruitment process to remove barriers for applicants with a disability or long-term condition.

  • Provide a point of contact by telephone, email or mobile for people who have questions about the recruitment process.

Make sure the job description is easy to read and understand

Define the job role and skills using inclusive, plain English language. Write in a clear and concise way. Ask yourself - if someone didn't already work for your company, would they understand what's needed? At Patchwork Hub we follow the Crystal Mark standard.

Please see our guide on Writing accessible job descriptions for more tips on following best practice when posting jobs on our site.

Include an accessibility statement in every job post

It's crucial to include an accessibility statement if you wish to attract candidates with disabilities. To make this as easy as possible for you to include, here is a simple format you can follow to write your accessibility statement:

“[Insert Company Name] is committed to ensuring that our recruitment processes are barrier-free and as inclusive as possible for everyone. This includes making adjustments for people who have a disability or long-term condition. We particularly welcome applications from disabled candidates. If you would like us to do anything differently during the application process, such as use an alternative format, please contact our hiring manager [Name of Employer] at [email address] and [phone number].”

It’s important to include contact information in your accessibility statement so that candidates can discuss their needs with you directly and confidentially. Since each contact method can present a different barrier, make sure to include alternative ways of getting in touch (e.g. by phone and email).

Providing alternative contact methods is important because candidates won't be able to request reasonable adjustments on the application form if they aren't able to access it.

Design the application process inclusively

Check that any automated messages and emails are written in a friendly and inclusive way. Avoid sounding overly formal. The application process should be clearly communicated and easy to navigate. Write clear labels on any forms. Don't forget to include your equality and diversity policy.

Design the selection criteria inclusively

CVs alone may not be the most accurate and inclusive way to assess a candidate’s ability to do a job. From unconscious bias to file incompatibility, lots of issues can arise if the hiring manager is not aware of these factors.

When looking for a minimum level of educational qualifications and specific work experience as assessment criteria, consider whether these are actually essential. Often disabled candidates may have received a less formal education or experienced discrimination in the education system. Similarly, they may have less work experience because employers have not been willing to offer them a chance.

If you do use minimum criteria it’s important to consider candidates who can demonstrate that they have, by other means, acquired the skills of which qualifications or work experience are an indicator.

Particularly when hiring from Patchwork Hub’s hidden talent pool, an employment gap in someone’s CV should not count against them. Especially for people with long-term health conditions or caring responsibilities, this can be quite common and is not a good indicator of someone's skillset or their ability to do a job.

For more guidance please see our advice on How to design accessible job roles.

Making adjustments to your recruitment process

At each stage of the recruitment process, be sure to communicate to applicants that you are willing to make reasonable adjustments. This way you are actively demonstrating your commitment to removing barriers for applicants with a disability or long-term health condition.

Remember when asking applicants about adjustments and access needs to always give alternative methods of contact (text, email, phone number) in your job post so they can discuss in more detail should they need to.

Please bear in mind that, right from the start of the recruitment process, candidates with disabilities need to be told what the recruitment process entails. This will help them assess what adjustments they might need. At a minimum, highlight what the next stage of the process is in your job description.

Set the right tone in the interview

When conducting the interview, do your best to provide a good experience for the candidate, whatever the outcome. Many people struggle with nerves and anxiety at interviews. This is especially true if they have special requirements. Put them at ease and ask the right questions to assess their skills rather than personal circumstances.

Have a fair scoring system

The application and interview process should be designed to assess a candidate's skills and suitability for the job. This should be reflected in the interview questions, the shortlisting process and the scoring. We believe that job accessibility is about equity and creating a level playing field for everyone. Some people need more support or help than others to bring everyone to the same level. At Patchwork Hub, we encourage employers to take this into account in the recruitment process.


If you need any further help or advice on how to make your hiring process more accessible, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

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