Why Accessibility Matters in Your Hiring Software: A Conversation with an Accessibility Engineer

Person sitting at a keyboard with brail

Written By

 
Danielle McClow

Published

Tuesday, Sep 15, 2020

Category

Industry Trends Diversity & Inclusion

About the Author

With a passion for life-long learning, Danielle McClow got her start in higher education before joining iCIMS as a Content Writer. She holds an advanced degree in classic rhetoric and keeps things cheery around the office with her unique brand of nihilism.

Sometimes it feels like you’ve seen every application, reviewed countless reference letters, and waded through all your talent pools and yet you haven’t found the right person for the role. How can you not find someone in all those applications? 

What if I told you that the person you’ve been searching for hasn’t applied because they couldn’t?

61 million adults in the U.S. live with a disability = 1 in 4 people 
*According to the CDC 

If 26% of adults have a disability, how many candidates miss out because application accessibility considerations come second?

How do you change that; how do you make sure that each candidate has an equal opportunity to apply to your organization? You certify that your hiring software is accessible—for everyone. 

Promote Diversity and Inclusion in Your Talent Acquisition Software

To better understand what to look for in accessible talent acquisition software, I spoke to Jason Ferreira, iCIMS’ Accessibility Engineer. Jason works within our Center of Excellence (CoE) to ensure we build products with accessibility in mind. The CoE is comprised of subject matter experts, like Jason, who focus on accessibility, security, and localization. Jason leads our Labs department in internal training and best practices on why accessibility matters in hiring software.

“Accessibility should not be an afterthought,” Ferreira said.
“It needs to be built into your code so that your technology is working for you, not against you.”

jason ferreira headshot


It’s Jason’s job to ensure that our hiring software considers all areas of accessibility, such as:

  • Visual
  • Speech
  • Hearing 
  • Cognitive
  • Motor

Ferreira puts equal emphasis on building empathy for end users within his team as he does training them to build accessible software. He ensures engineers, testers, coders, and anyone who touches software understand what it means to use tech with a disability. It’s not about checking off boxes; it’s about building a real connection to the UX of all our users. Ferreira says we use our Empathy Lab to help accomplish this. 

iCIMS’ introduced its Empathy Lab in 2019 during our eighth annual Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). The lab, which is part of each new hire’s onboard curriculum, is filled with stations geared toward simulating different challenges those with disabilities face in the workplace.

Check Your Tech to Ensure it is Accessible for All 

If you’re unsure if your hiring software is built with accessibility in mind, here are a few steps to take.

  1. Ask volunteers at your company, perhaps members of Employee Resource Groups, to apply to open roles and complete screenings. Use the feedback to identify gaps or areas of improvement.
  2. Speak to your talent acquisition software vendor(s) about accessibility in your software. What’s available; what’s turned off; what’s on the roadmap? You need to know how important accessibility is to them (beyond just being compliant with laws). 
  3. Determine what accessibility testing is needed and an appropriate cadence to leverage it. Keep a pulse on the testing experience so that your efforts do not fall to the wayside. 

When each area of your hiring software is built with accessibility in mind, you’ll open your talent pools to every candidate, not just those who were able to complete the application. Your tech should have your back and support the growth and belonging that your culture exudes.  

Interested in learning even more about diverse hiring practices? Check out our guide, Decode Diversity: How to Recruit High-Performing Teams. Get your copy here

decode diversity cta

 

About the Author

With a passion for life-long learning, Danielle McClow got her start in higher education before joining iCIMS as a Content Writer. She holds an advanced degree in classic rhetoric and keeps things cheery around the office with her unique brand of nihilism.