How to Maximize Your Disability Hiring Outreach

By , January 23, 2013

I recently wrote in Huffington Post that more than a dozen major U.S. companies – including Lowe’s, Procter & Gamble and Best Buy – are following Walgreens’ lead and are recruiting job seekers with disabilities. Meanwhile, Walmart, the largest private employer in the United States, projects it will hire 100,000 veterans in the next five years.

While this is great news, these are just snippets of the increasingly inclusive hiring practices among the growing number of companies that value diversity nationwide. The improving economic forecast means that more companies will want to hire, but recruiting a diverse workforce costs time and money—both of which are in short supply, especially for small businesses.

At Think Beyond the Label, we’re using technology and social platforms to help employers connect to qualified candidates with disabilities across the United States and build their pipeline of workers with disabilities. And we have some amazing events coming up. For starters, we’re hosting a free webinar for employers, Best Practices in Disability Recruiting on Wednesday, February 13. The event will be powered by our technology partner Brazen Careerist. You can register here for the webinar.

Why should employers join us? Recruiting qualified job seekers with disabilities is different than recruiting from other minority groups—but the pay-off is significant. Workers with disabilities have low rates of absenteeism and turnover, which reduces a company’s recruitment and retention costs. Companies that hire from this group can take advantage of tax incentives of up to $10,000 per employee per year, and more if hiring a veteran with a disability.

We’ll also be hosting a series of online career fairs for job seekers with disabilities this year. The next one is March 5. Career fairs, or virtual recruiting, is beneficial for both the recruiter AND the job seeker because the focus is on the ability to do the job, not the disability. It allows job hunters to keep the focus squarely on their skills and experience, not on their disability, which can impact their chances of being hired. Employers and job seekers can register here for the March 5 career fair.

At one recent career fair I attended, a person who is blind told the recruiter for a mobile technology company that she was using a screen reader to convert web text into speech to conduct the real-time chat. The employer was impressed with her technical skills and brought her in for an interview. As one candidate so succinctly put it, “If you want to hire someone who thinks outside of the box, try hiring someone who lives outside of the box.”

So whether you’re looking to hire right away or want to build your pipeline, Think Beyond the Label is giving you the skills and tools you need you need to effectively interact with, engage and interview a person with a disability, including the type of language and etiquette to use when interviewing a job seeker with a disability, or the nature of the questions you can ask regarding accommodations for a candidate’s disability. In our career fairs, we’re directly connecting you to qualified job seekers. And along the way, we’ll also show you how Think Beyond the Label can help you showcase your workplace diversity and hiring initiatives to enhance your brand. See our partnerships page.

The icing on the cake for employers? The webinar also has been pre-approved by the Human Resource Certification Institute for one general credit hour toward PHR, SPHR and GPHR recertification. So come join us at our Think Beyond the Label webinar and online career fairs to hear about best practices in disability recruiting—and then find and hire qualified job seekers with disabilities to help build your business.

Author: Barbara Otto

Barbara Otto is the CEO of Health & Disability Advocates, which manages Think Beyond the Label.