Accessibility & reasonable adjustments - supporting disabled individuals during recruitment

Creative Access’ process for disabled individuals during recruitment

At Creative Access, as part of our mission to provide career-long access, opportunities, support and training to individuals from under-represented groups, we do our best to maintain best practice in our recruitment process for paid internships, roles, mentoring and other programmes are all accessible and we will make reasonable adjustments to ensure this.  

Please read below to see what reasonable adjustments look like throughout the interview process with us. 

This page covers: 

  • What are reasonable adjustments? 
  • Accessible job advertisements 
  • Reasonable adjustments throughout the job application process
  • Accessibility best practice & resources for employers

What are reasonable adjustments? 

Legal definition 

The Equality Act says there is a duty to make reasonable adjustments if a candidate is placed at a substantial disadvantage because of disability compared with non-disabled people or people who don’t disclose their disability. Substantial means more than minor or trivial.  

What do reasonable adjustments look like in the recruitment process? 

Stage 1: Signing up to a job advertisement

Note: When signing up to Creative Access, we allow individuals to input their disability details and give the option to disclose further information. This is never disclosed without their express permission, individuals signify this with a tick box.

In order to make sure job adverts are accessible we:

  • Include clearly established ‘must-have’ versus ‘desirable’ criteria in job ads 
  • Include a diversity & inclusion statement in the job advert that states you are happy to discuss reasonable adjustments 
  • Advise our employer partners on a programme of support if they don’t already have one in place 

Stage 2: Pre-interview

At this stage, you may be invited to join a long-listing session.

What is a long-listing session? This is a virtual meeting and a chance to see how other people in your position answer questions, you’ll get to learn from one another’s experiences, and connect with each other if you want to. 

It is not a competitive environment. And if you are uncomfortable speaking in front of the group, you have the option to type in the chat, instead. Closed captions are turned on throughout the session for anyone who may find them useful.

Note: We’ll ask in your invite to join the session whether you need reasonable adjustments, you can submit these via an online form. You will be invited to resubmit your application within 24 hours of the longlisting session you attended, unless you tell us you’re unable to complete this in time.

In order to make sure the process leading up to a potential job interview is accessible, we take the following considerations: 

  • You can have a 1:1 call instead of a longlisting session if this would serve you better than a group setting 
  • We offer breaks in long sessions (to help with sensory overload) 
  • We provide interview questions in advance 
  • We ensure all materials are in an accessible format 
  • We provide panel information in advance (names, roles, photos) 
  • We begin and end communications with accessibility information 

Stage 3: Interview

Note: If you are selected for an interview we will ask you to disclose any in-person reasonable adjustments in your interview acceptance form. You should not feel forced to disclose any disabilities, however if you request any reasonable adjustments we will share these with the potential employer.

Check out our blog: Navigating disclosure at work, top tips!

  • To maximise accessibility for in-person interviews we: 
  • Provide opportunities to visit the building 
  • Provide directions in the form of maps/visual cues 
  • Provide details of what to expect upon arrival (for example there might be a buzzer you need to use, or navigating to a reception desk) 
  • Make you as the interviewee aware of the accessibility of the premises, and ask employers to make adjustments as needed  

Stage 4: Successful application

Woohoo, you got the job! Congratulations. Here is what to look out for in the coming days and weeks:

  • We’ll be in touch with your employer to communicate any needs you’ve disclosed are catered for, such as desk positioning or provision of technology 
  • Creative Access will endeavour to keep in touch with you with an email to see how you’re settling in. Best of luck!

Employer accessibility best practice & resources 

  1. Base your approach on universal principles that benefit the entire team, so disabled people are not always being ‘othered’ or requiring differentiation. This might include a general respect and curiosity about what enables all staff to bring their true selves to work, or the completion of Wellness Action Plans that are an easy, practical way to support mental health at work. 
  2. Review use of imagery in presentations, in marketing material and on your website. 
  3. Audit policies and procedures around recruitment, training and promotion to flag up any barriers. 
  4. Audit your staff to ensure hiring and line managers sufficiently understand their legal duties towards disabled people as set out in the Equality Act 2010. If using third party recruiters, ensure they are compliant with the measures set out in the Equality Act. 
  5. Check your marketing collateral; are the fonts and colours disability compliant? Is the text conducive to neurodivergent reading? Is your website accessible for people using screen reading software? 
  6. Ensure you paint a realistic picture of life at your organisation and within the sector during the recruitment process, more specifically:

In your job adverts: 

  • Review what is the right mix between recruiting for generalist skills, or people with outstanding abilities in specific areas. Avoid broad skills such as ‘strong teamwork and excellent communication skills’ by default, regardless of how essential they are to the role itself. (Many autistic people will not apply for roles with these requirements, assuming that they are ineligible for the job even if they have strong skills that are directly relevant) 
  • Clearly define the job role and skills required. They should be plain and concise for accessibility, avoiding jargon. 

At pre-interview stage:

  • Be mindful to be clear about timings and interview structure 
  • Scheduling an in-person interview with only 48 hours-notice may not allow individuals adequate time 
  • Altering assessment procedures (extra time, assistive technology) 

For successful applicants: 

  • Ensure your new employee is paired with a supportive line manager or management team 
  • Inform your successful job applicant of their rights, discussing the handbook, taking them through tasks such as how to book time off  
  1. Undertake appropriate team training, for example: embracing neurodiversity, cultivating empathetic conversations around mental health, disability equity to ensure staff are more aware of what ‘reasonable adjustments’ can and should be made. 
  2. Working with an expert partner to establish a Positive Action scheme for a training programme means you can specifically target underrepresented or disadvantaged groups, including individuals who have a disability or anyone who may come from a low socio-economic background. Find out more on our FAQ page: What is a Positive Action Scheme?
  3. Review working hours and patterns and provide opportunities for flexible working. 

Helpful free resources to support employee wellbeing: 

Resources to help support mental wellness: 

In more urgent circumstances you may want to consider:​ 

  • Helpline: Anxiety UK (helpline staffed by volunteers with personal experience of anxiety). Call them on 08444 775 774 ​
    (Monday – Friday 9.30am – 5.30pm)​ 
  • Helpline: The Samaritans trained volunteers. Call them on 08457 909090 or email​ 
  • Text ‘SHOUT’ to 85258 you will start a conversation with a trained Shout Volunteer, who will text you back and forth, sharing only what you feel comfortable with. 
  • Website: Mind​ 
  • Website: Rethink​ 
  • Your local GP or IAPT service 

For more information either as a candidate or employer on Creative Access’ approach to accessibility you can get in touch with Creative Access at info @ creative access [dot] org [dot] uk 

Creative Access also runs a number of open workshops to help employers and recruitment professionals to support people with disabilities including those who are neurodivergent. Browse and book your spot at our next available session at this link: Creative Access open workshops on diversity, equity, inclusion