How to recruit inclusively

By making small changes you can recruit young disabled people directly. This not only benefits the person, but also benefits the business.

By ensuring that your recruitment processes are accessible you will be able to access a previously unrecognised pool of talent and skills, individuals that are passionate and committed to working.

We can often see impact across the wider workforce, with team members and managers reporting increased wellbeing, productive and commitment to the business.

This webinar where our employer partners share learning about the implementation of the Social Value Act in procurement and what this can mean for young people being supported in the workplace and the wider workforce, can give you further information.

How to recruit inclusively

Advertising and job descriptions

This section offers advice on changes that can be made to your recruitment processes at every level. Embedding inclusive practices across every recruitment not only increases accessibility for young disabled people, but also give you a more thorough insight into every person joining your team.


If you want to have a more diverse and inclusive workforce, there are a few things you can do in your recruitment processes to attract from a wider pool of talent. We have listed some suggestions below that you may want to consider and given examples of how organisations have used these previously.

Language and font

Use language that is inclusive; advise you have an equal opportunity policy/you are a disability confident employer – provide a link to your website and check your website reflects you are an inclusive employer.

Choose a font which is accessible; Arial, size 12+ point for advert and any handouts and 28+ for PowerPoint presentations. Remember to consider screen reader technology. Use the ‘Headings’ and ‘Body’ options when selecting your font so it is clear to a screen reader what is a heading and what is the content of what you are sharing. Ensure any pictures have ‘alternative descriptions’ to advise if they are for display - only or if they are to share information.

Consider colour of font and background and use a contrast checker (available on Microsoft Office).

Job description content

When designing your job description try to ensure it is inclusive. This doesn’t mean you need to start from scratch. If you have a job description already, you might just want to do a few checks to ensure you are inviting to everyone. To do this, you may want to consider the tips below:

  • consider what the actual needs of the job are when listing the skills and experience and break them down e.g. not just ‘communication skills’, highlight each skill
  • keep requirements outcome focused – what do you want to see at the end?
  • do not use any jargon or abbreviations or include definitions for common abbreviations e.g. ‘PPE’
  • consider if you need x years’ experience, if not, do not ask for it as it will exclude some candidates
  • do you need a full driving license? Is it necessary for the role or could public transport be an option or support from Access to Work e.g. a driver to drive them when needed?
  • keep sentences short
  • ensure all text is left aligned
  • do not use capitals unnecessarily
  • keep text away from any images and ensure no text is over an image, as this can be difficult to read
  • use bullet points to keep information concise

To encourage candidates to apply for your role, you may also want to provide details of who they can contact to find out further information, site address and directions on how to get there. See this example (Wates Residential).

This will help demonstrate you are considering their needs and are an inclusive employer. Ensure you advise ‘if any reasonable adjustments are required, please let us know’ and discuss these when the offer of an interview is made as each person’s requirements will be unique to them.

Offer application form and any other resources in alternative formats – have you considered recording yourself telling someone about the job? Videos may be more accessible for some candidates, and it will help them to see you too.

Here are some examples of questions you may want to answer in the job description. Providing photos will also be useful. If you have a ‘meet the team’ page on your website, highlight this.

  • who will I be working with? What is the size of the team? Is there an opportunity to have a buddy? See this workbook (Wates Residential) for an example of how to do this which includes information on previous projects too
  • where will I be working?
  • what would an average day look like?
  • what time would I need to arrive and when would I leave? Maybe you could include something about breaks in here too
  • if I need to adjust the timings because of my medication, is this possible?
  • what other reasonable adjustments would you be happy to make for me?
  • is there a medical room or a private area someone can go to take medication?
  • is there a fridge on site where medication can be stored?
  • what uniform/ protective clothing would be needed?

Photo/video of the site and the team

It would be useful to include a photo or video of the workplace(s) to give potential candidates an idea of where they would be working. It is also good to include photo/videos of the team they will be working with. By including photos which are diverse and inclusive you will help to reassure candidates who are nervous and open your application up to people who may not have considered working for you before. It is also a good opportunity to showcase how you are an inclusive employer.

Sharing photos and information about the interview room and facilities is also good practise.

You may want to ask where the best place for them is to sit and if they require any reasonable adjustments for example if they are deaf or hard of hearing or need a BSL interrupter. Also consider the colours in the room (particularly important for neurodiverse candidates) and consider noises in the room e.g. a fan may be distracting.

Online checkers

Running your job description through an online checker is a quick and easy way to check for gender, disability and other biases in the text. It helps ensure you are showcasing your organisations commitment to being an inclusive and supportive workplace to potential candidates, which in turn will help you recruit from a more diverse talent pool.

Accessibility checker

Microsoft now have an accessibility checker on most of their software. It is quick and easy to use and can be found under the ‘Review’ tab.


Considerations before interviews

Before you arrange a traditional interview, consider if this is the best approach to take. You may want to consider one of the options below to ensure you are seeing the real candidate, rather than how they can perform in an interview.

Could you accommodate a work trial? This would give you and the candidate you are thinking of hiring an opportunity to see how they do on the job. The candidate could also have the support of a job coach (via their college/training provider or Access to Work). A job coach would support them initially and then gradually move away as the candidate works more independently. A mentor or buddy in the workplace would then be able to support the candidate. This is also a great way to upskill your own staff and gives the candidate an opportunity to see if they like the environment and job.

A Supported Internship would be a great way to use a work trial and save your business recruitment and hiring costs as the education provider would match you to a suitable intern and as the workplace learning is part of their education course, you would not be required to pay the intern a wage. This is a great opportunity for you as an employer and provides the intern with the experience they need to succeed in the workplace. For more information see Supported internships

See the case studies below for an example of how a work trial supported internship can work:

Another option would be to offer a work assessment instead of a work interview. This is like a work trial but for a shorter period. The candidate might still bring along their job coach to offer support.

If you are not able to offer an alternative to an interview, there are things you can do to make the process more accessible, which in turn will give you more talent to choose from. We have highlighted some of the key considerations below but you can also access more information from the links at the end of this section.

We all know interviews can make people feel nervous and for some potential candidates this level of anxiety will be enough to put them off applying. One thing you can do to help applicants feel more comfortable is to send out the questions in advance. This will give them more time to prepare their answers and think of relevant examples. This will make the interview process fairer for young disabled people or young people who do not have English as their first language.

If it is not possible to send the questions in advance, perhaps you could send out information on the themes of the questions. Make sure these are actual requirements of the job and break them down to be specific. This way the candidate can consider relevant examples.

Consider the wording – make sure the language you use is inclusive and will help the applicant to answer the question. If you want examples of teamwork do not ask ‘are you good at teamwork?’ because some candidates will view this as a closed question and will say ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Instead, you might want to ask, ‘can you give me examples of how you worked in a team?’ This will make it clear to the candidate what you want to know and help them to give you the correct information and examples. A good way to approach this is to think; what is the answer I want and what is the direct question I need to ask, to give me that answer?

Be concise, do not use jargon and only ask one question at a time. If it is a two-part question, make it two questions. Try not to use hypothetical questions such as ‘where do you see yourself in three years?’ or ‘if you were an animal what animal would you be?’ as some disabled young people, particularly if they are neurodiverse, may struggle to visualise this.

If you would like to know how the candidate would act in a situation, give clear, precise, and specific information. Rather than ask ‘If someone had an accident on site how would you act?’ which could cause them to think ‘what kind of an accident? do they require an ambulance or a plaster? where on site did it happen? who was around?, you might want to ask ‘Whilst working on site, someone fell off a ladder from the first floor and you were the only person around, what would you do?’ By providing a little more detail, you will enable them to understand the situation fully and answer the question.

To ensure your questions are inclusive and not gender biased, consider running them through the Gender bias decoder (Totaljobs) and Accessibility Checker (Microsoft).

Also be mindful of non-binary language.

Before the interview it is a good idea to ring the candidate to introduce yourself. This will reassure them as they will have heard your voice and know your name. If you haven’t sent out photos and information about the team and workplace prior to this, now is a good opportunity to do so.

Pre-recorded video interviews have great benefits for the candidate and the employer. All you do as the employer is identify the candidates you would like to interview and send them the questions in advance, along with specific instructions on how you would like the interview recorded. These may include how long you would like the recording to be, what format, inside/outside, any particular background, etc.

Benefits to the employer of using pre-recorded interviews include:

  • saves time trying to arrange each interview
  • you can interview more people
  • in a normal interview you are restricted to how many people can be on the interview panel as too many can be intimidating to the candidate. However, if using pre-recorded video interviews, you can have as many people involved in reviewing as you like
  • if the interviewee does not showcase the skills you are looking for you can move onto the next one without worrying about offending the applicant

Benefits to the candidate:

  • candidates can review the questions in advance and prepare their answers and examples
  • if the candidate is anxious, it will remove some of their anxiety as they will be able to re-record any answers they think they could have answered better
  • it will remove any transport or financial barriers that might face the candidate in accessing the workplace for interview
  • please note, you may need to consider making alternative provision/ reasonable adjustments for those candidates who are unable to record themselves e.g. some visually impaired candidates

Prior to the interview, consider the room you will be using:

  • is it accessible to all?
  • do you have good lighting?
  • is it quiet? Be mindful of distractions outside the room
  • will it require candidate to work through an active workplace?
  • is it ground floor with a window where people might be walking past or in a busy office?

If there are lots of distractions people may find it hard to concentrate and appear distracted. Consider if there are any ways you can limit/ minimise potential distractions. For example, could you close a blind or choose a day when less people are in the office?

If possible, conduct interviews in a room that has curtains and a carpet as this provides better acoustics. This is particularly helpful to candidates who are hard of hearing but will also benefit everyone.

If you are interviewing on site such as in a portacabin, as well as the recommendations above, it is also important to ensure the room is clean and people do not need to enter or walk through it whilst the interview is happening.

Did you know?

Support provided to people should be individualised depending on the disability or health need a person has and their personal preference. To find out more about how specific disabilities and health conditions can be supported check Employing disabled people and people with health conditions ( and remember to ask the person their preference when planning your interview.