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5 Recruitment Tips to Attract People with Disabilities

5 Recruitment Tips to Attract People with Disabilities

You are a company, and wish to hire PWDs (persons with disabilities). But strangely, you find none of them applying! Take a step further to encourage them to join you.         

Here are some tips where you can get the attention of PWDs in hiring them:


1) Add promotional messages and welcoming language

The purpose is to shift someone away from thinking “it is not for me”.

Here are some examples of welcoming message:

  • “Our office is open to providing reasonable accommodations as needed to PWDs”
  • “This is an Equal Employment Opportunity ( All employment decisions are made without regards to age, race, gender, religion, disability status, marital status etc) We employ based on qualifications”

Recruitment materials such as brochures, websites and posters should include images of PWDs and, if possible, quotes by PWD participants who have participated successfully. Also, mention that the position is open to all professionals including those with disabilities.


2) Choose your language with purpose  

Knowing how to sensitively refer to members of diverse groups, including PWD, is a key. Many PWD don’t view themselves as hopeless but simply different. Adopting a vocabulary that feels respectful to everyone is the most inclusive course to follow.

Here are some recommendations to improve disability etiquette:

  • Never say “a disabled person”, “the disabled”, “deaf”, “dumb” or “crippled” Instead, say a “person with disabilities”
  • Instead of referring to “the blind guy in the corner”, say “the man in the black shirt”


3) Interview as normal

Candidates with disabilities want to be treated fairly, respectfully and equally. They don’t want to be treated differently but with empathy.

Here are some suggestions given to provide equal job opportunity:

  • Make sure that interviewing locations are accessible to the PWD candidate. .
  • Allow applicants to request reasonable assistance, such as asking for a sign language interpreter to facilitate communication.
  • Place yourself at interviewee’s eye level.
  • Listen attentively when you are talking with a person who has difficulty speaking. Be patient and wait for the person to finish speaking rather than correcting them or speaking for them.
  • Feel free to ask pertaining their disabilities to so that they could inform if additional ‘request’ are needed upon being employed.


4) Enforce zero-tolerance policy

Jokes are part and parcel of life but make it a point to set boundaries that hurtful remarks made about people’s differences have no place in today’s workplace. Encourage employees to report any instance of this type of behaviour. Establish formal grievance policies in the workplace to handle transgressions and make sure it be known they will not be tolerated. Companies hiring PWDs earns respect from the public.


 5) Build training and internship programmes for people with disabilities

Training programmes will help to ensure that PWDs feel more engaged at work and feel appreciated in the companies. Companies that offer internship or recruitment programs for PWDs are more likely to hire people with disabilities than companies with no such programme. For example, companies can offer Special Needs Internship Programme (SNIP) for PWDs. 

Here are some competitive advantages of establishing recruitment or internship programmes for PWDs:

  • When an intern comes in, they often have innovative ideas from their academic experience. They are energetic and fresh in thinking and can bring ideas that you thought were not possible.
  • Showing your employees that you care about their well-being helps to create a positive work environment and team atmosphere within your company.
  • Acclimatise both the PWDs with the none-PWDs who are working in the same company or department.

Companies should promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all. PWDs are as capable as anyone else. You have nothing to lose in hiring PWDs.


Written by: Chan Hui Ni

Edited by: Jennifer Chan Chien Mei