Application forms are popular with employers because they are generic and allow easier comparison between applicants. However, this drive for uniformity can disadvantage people who may well be excellent candidates but do not have standard educational qualifications or who have gaps in their work history.
- Attracting and hiring disabled candidates (businessdisabilityforum.org.uk)
- Inclusive Communication Toolkit – BDF (businessdisabilityforum.org.uk)
While some disabled people may have had less formal education and spent time out of work for treatment or rehabilitation, they may well have other experience and skills to bring to the workplace.
If you do use application forms:
- Avoid making application and online registration forms overly long and complicated, as this makes it difficult for some people to apply and may particularly disadvantage some disabled people who take longer to fill out forms.
- If you are unable to change complex forms, help people to complete them (for example, by providing guidance on how to complete them) and be innovative in offering ways of getting round the barriers they represent.
- Ensure every question is relevant to the position. Clearly mark which information is required and which optional.
- If you use standard application forms that request information which may not be relevant to a specific position, ensure this information does not influence any decision to offer an interview or employment. In addition, state that it is a standard form and make it clear you will only take into account those questions which are relevant to the particular position.
- Allow space for the applicant to give details of experience they have gained outside the workplace.
- Use simple straightforward language. This will help everyone, especially those with disabilities affecting cognitive ability, learning difficulties and those who have English as a second language.
- Ensure any online recruitment process is accessible to disabled candidates.