Episode 89: Getting Hired

Kyle:                                        This episode of The Accessible Stall is sponsored by Getting Hired. Getting Hired is a resource that connects job seekers with disabilities to employers who are looking to hire people with disabilities.

Emily:                                       Hey, I’m Emily Ladau.

Kyle:                                        And I’m Kyle Khachadurian.

Emily:                                       And you’re listening to another episode of The Accessible Stall.

Kyle:                                        What are we going to talk about today, Emily?

Emily:                                       It’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month. That’s a mouthful and henceforth, we will be calling it NDEAM, but I’m pretty excited about it because we’re going to have a conversation all about a resource that you can check out that connects job seekers with disabilities to employers who are looking to hire people with disability. We’re going to be talking with Sarah McMullen from Getting Hired and I am pretty excited. Aren’t you?

Kyle:                                        I’m so excited.

Emily:                                       All right. Sarah, welcome. Thanks for joining us.

Sarah:                                      Hi, thank you so much for having me.

Emily:                                       We’re so glad you’re here. We’d love for you to start off by telling us a little bit about yourself. Who are you, what’s your role with Getting Hired and what makes you tick? Why are you so passionate about it?

Sarah:                                      Yeah, absolutely. My name is Sarah McMullen and I am the lead disability inclusion consultant for Getting Hired. Ultimately, what I do is I work directly with employers across the United States who are looking to hire people with disabilities, and I’m helping them to create strategies and implement best practices for attracting, hiring and retaining people with disabilities. That also means that a lot of times I am working with job seekers and disability, non-profit organizations as well that are supporting job seekers to connect them to our employer partners.

Really trying to bridge that employment gap, really trying to connect those job seekers who are looking for jobs so not sure where to turn to for a resource to find, hey, what employers truly are looking to hire people with disabilities. What employers really are passionate about creating inclusive cultures and creating that change in the unemployment rate for people with disabilities. That’s a little bit about what I do. I’m extremely passionate about this one.

I think it is still a population is still a group that truly is not prioritized enough, underrepresented, not focused on, and truly needs to be because it’s something that everybody is going to be able to identify with. We’re all going to have a disability to some degree at some point in our lives that applies to anybody and can apply to anybody. In addition to that, from a personal standpoint, I have family members and friends with non-apparent disabilities. And it’s just something that, again, for me, it really strikes a chord thinking about them, thinking about any potential situations that they’ve encountered with their disability and their experiences and finding employment.

Emily:                                       Yeah. Kyle and I have talked about employment multiple times on the podcast. We have run the gamut from conversations about the importance of paying people with disabilities at all, to the challenges of navigating the employment system. And so, it’s really, really excited that we’re going to, I’m really, really excited. And I shouldn’t say not, it’s excited that we’re going to be talking about such a helpful resource today. I’d love to turn it over to Kyle so that we can dive a little deeper.

Kyle:                                        And I just want to point out, I just love that you said that this is an issue that affects everybody because we’re all going to become disabled at some point. I just feel like that fact is so often looked over by everybody all the time. We’re starting off on a really good foot. Can you dive into more about how getting hired works and the actual work that your company does? Like if I were a person with a disability and I find you guys, what are the next steps?

Sarah:                                      Absolutely. For any person with a disability, anyone who’s looking for work, a job seeker of any kind we’re completely free resource to use. We have our website gettinghired.com. That is the job board aspect of our business. And it’s a job board that’s very straightforward. We have currently over 85,000 jobs open on our website from various employers, various industries, really, whatever you’re looking for, you can probably find something that matches your qualifications and interests on our site. You can create a free account with us, upload your resume, knowing that recruiters for those employer partners that we’re working with are sourcing for talent proactively.

They’re trying to find job seekers with disabilities when they go into our database and perform searches, but you can also apply to as many jobs as you would like with us. You can create free job alerts to be notified of jobs that you’re interested in. The types of roles that you’re looking for when new jobs are posted onto our website every single day. And you can also know that every job that an employer would have on their career site is on our site as well. Employers are not picking and choosing certain jobs to go onto our website, thinking that, “Hey, these jobs might be the best fit for somebody with a disability,” because there’s so many assumptions that go into that.

There’s a lot of stereotyping even discrimination with that as well. What we have employers do is we have them approve their career site and we then scrape or collect all of the jobs from their career site onto our site. You can know, hey, if you see an employer on our site and you see all of their jobs, it’s almost like looking at their career site, but you know that they are committed to hiring people with disabilities because you see them on our site. You can know that they are doing more than the bare minimum of just posting jobs to our website as well, which kind of leads me into the second half of really what we do and what I’m so passionate around. What we do with our employer partners is we are providing training and education to recruiters and hiring managers.

That being what I believe is one of the biggest employment barriers for people with disabilities, just honestly that human error, the human judgments that we make about other people, the stereotypes, the assumptions, the bias that we have, assuming what somebody’s abilities are thinking about what a person with a disability would look like because of how it’s been stereotyped in society and in media, and that ultimately affecting whether or not somebody moves forward in the interview process or the hiring process. We’re providing training and education. We are having discussions with those talent acquisition teams to talk about these important issues and really try to address it as much as possible to reduce that employment barrier. We are also providing free events for job seekers, like virtual career fairs. And it’s an opportunity to dialogue directly with employers again, who are looking to hire people with disabilities.

And I would like to say that we, again, try to hold everybody to do the standard of doing more than the bare minimum, doing more than what I think a lot of times happens where you show up to a virtual career fair and employer will say great to meet you. Yeah. I’m not sure how to help you, you know, go to our career site and apply for the job. Now, these employers are looking to have a conversation with you looking to help you as much as possible and to learn more about you and help you in your employment search. That’s a little bit more about what we’re doing and providing more than just the job board aspect of our business and resource.

Emily:                                       I think you touch on so many important points. And what I really appreciate is taking a multipronged approach to this. Because it’s not as though a person with a disability, you can just jump right into the deep end and begin job searching without also acknowledging and processing the fact that they’re going to come up against some of the remaining stigma and stereotypes. It’s really good that there’s support on that end, but also really great that there’s training to help shift mind-sets on the other side of that, on the employer side of that. I think that we tend to look at employees and employers as very isolated and they need different training and they need different support and it all exists in a vacuum, but I really appreciate the idea that it’s a more holistic approach because I know that when there’s support on both sides, I think it makes the process a lot easier.

All that being said, I mean, we were talking a little bit before you mentioned that the unemployment rate for people with disabilities is something that obviously getting hired is seeking to bring down. And in these times, unfortunately, it has gone up a little bit. I’m really interested in hearing why a company like getting hired is so needed and so necessary, especially right now. I mean, we can’t not acknowledge that there is a global pandemic going on. And job searching is increasingly more difficult. Pandemics can create and contribute to disability. And so, job search is hard. Job searching is always hard and it’s harder now. And so why are companies like Getting Hired what we need to help kind of bridge those gaps and help fill the holes where there are a lack of resources for people with disabilities.

Sarah:                                      Absolutely. And you make a really great point because that has been, as you all probably know, a really big topic in the disability space of, hey, on the one hand, a lot of companies have provided more remote work opportunities and that’s what people with disabilities want. You would think that people with disabilities have more opportunities to work more employment opportunities available to them, which yes, there are remote opportunities that have become more available, but that has not fixed by any means. The unemployment rate, the unemployment rate is still more than double that for people with disabilities compared to people without. Since the pandemic, one in five people with disabilities have lost their jobs versus one in seven are compared to one in seven people without disabilities.

It definitely is still an area that needs to be focused on. It’s a population. And I hate to even say population because it makes it sound so segregated. And that’s not at all the fact or the truth. But disability inclusion, creating cultures of belonging, creating companies that are focusing on equality and equity for people with disabilities that has to be a focus. It has to be a priority. For us, that really is part of our driver. That is what we’re trying to achieve. We want, again, companies to do more than the bare minimum. Job seekers are not going to find the “success” in finding employment simply by having employers post jobs to a job board. Employers are therefore not going to find the success they’re looking for simply by posting their jobs to a job board. You have to do more.

It’s the same thing that, and it’s the same approach that we’re seeing for any effort for diversity hiring or diversity and inclusion. All of the efforts being made for women, all of the efforts being made for people of various races and ethnicities, veterans, LGBTQ, really anything that you can think of that makes us all different. You have to really take a look at your culture. You have to take a look at who you are as an organization. What resources are you providing? What do your processes and your policies look like? Are they designed for people with disabilities? Is your website accessible? Is your application process accessible? Is the online assessment that you might have with your application accessible? If not, it’s not equitable. You’re not providing equal access to those employment opportunities that you have out there. That’s the standard that we’re holding our employers to.

Those are the conversations we’re having with them to challenge them and ask, “What are you doing truly to create long-term change, to do this the right way?” Everybody just wants to post jobs to a website and everybody wants the quick fix. I think that’s just how we are in this country. Everybody wants the fast solution and hoping that, hey, if I post my jobs to enough places, that’s going to be the silver bullet. That’s going to be what I need in order to find the success I’m looking for. But it has to be deeper than that. It has to be more than that. And that’s ultimately what we’re doing.

Emily:                                       Yeah. I love that you point to the fact that you can’t simply put job postings out there and hope that people with disabilities are going to come to you because the reality is that the disability community is watching very closely. And so, if a company is not externally showing that they value disability inclusion, and if word is getting around that they’re not demonstrating it internally as well, I think that it’s a barrier to people in the sense that we understand when we’re not welcome. We get the vibe that we’re not welcome. And when companies are actively working on that culture shift, when they’re working on external marketing and really being inclusive and conscious of people with disabilities, when they’re working on shifting internally and creating employee resource groups for people with disability, creating a culture that makes people feel comfortable with disclosing, creating a culture where diversity is welcome. We know. We’re watching. We’re paying attention.

                                                And so, if your company is not sending the message and not putting any effort, putting something on a job board isn’t going to make a difference. And even if we do take a job there, there’s something to be said for being a person with a disability who feels unwelcome in an environment. And so, recognizing that it’s not just a matter of, if you have heartedly build it, they will come is incredibly important. I appreciate you pointing to the fact that it’s a robust effort in order to really make your company a place that’s welcoming and inclusive of diversity. And so, I love hearing about that. That’s so important to me.

Sarah:                                      Absolutely. Yeah. Just to echo some of what you said, at the end of the day, we’re all people and it’s so easy to segment everything and to forget that we just are people and to think, “Okay, I’m either the employer or the job seeker.” You could fluctuate between either of those things constantly and very easily especially right now with the current climate that we have in our country. You could go from being the “employer” or just having a job to being unemployed. And now you are the job seeker. And now you have the hat on of looking for organizations that do potentially have good representation of whatever you identify with and have diversity within their organization.

                                                You could be the job seeker that all of a sudden is employed by somebody. And now it’s, yeah, you are looking to see if everything that they have externally communicated, branded, and marketed around being diverse and inclusive or inclusive, especially for people with disabilities. Do you feel that same feeling on day one from when you start your job? Was it all external or is the focus just as equally felt, is that really being implemented internally as well? Are they truly walking the walk per se? What else is happening within that internal culture for their current employees? It’s just, again, remembering that we’re people, we’re all diverse.

Nobody is just one thing. You’re not just a woman or a woman of color or a woman that is also a veteran. You’re not just a man who has a disability or is part of the LGBTQ community. Everybody identifies with, at least I feel like two or more different things at this point in life. And it’s remembering that as well. At least this is part of what we tell our employers that, hey, when you are talking to veterans, when you have that veteran hiring hat on, remember that veterans have service and non-service-connected disabilities. When you are working on your efforts for hiring more women and bringing more women into the workplace or hiring or promoting women, women have disabilities too. It’s just remembering all of that and treating people as you would, even outside of work just as a person and not just viewing them as all of the different buckets of diversity that you could probably check off when you’re hiring for them.

Kyle:                                        Definitely. And I really, really appreciate, we really, really appreciate that you are touching on the fact that intersectionality among people is so, so important in every aspect of life, not the least of which is employment. But shifting gears just a little bit, I want to talk for a second about National Disability Employment Awareness Month, how can people walk the walk, as you say, what can the average Joe do to like honor it and how can people with disabilities participate in it? Other than to say, here we are.

Sarah:                                      Yeah, absolutely. Touching on the employer side, the theme for this year for NDEAM, it has to do with access and opportunity. One of my questions that I would ask to myself as an employer is what are we doing to increase access and opportunities for people with disabilities? Any time is a great time to review and evaluate all of your current hiring processes, policies, and resources. But this [00:18:26 inaudible] especially a great time because I feel like this is one of those months where majority of employers within our country are focusing simultaneously on people with disabilities, which is pretty amazing. And so, it’s taking a second, taking a step back and doing the same. What are you doing for, again, hiring people with disabilities, including people with disabilities in everything that you do talking about access, we touched on it a little bit before, but do you have equal access to your employment opportunities? Is your website accessible?

And you don’t have to be the subject matter expert in that you can start the conversation, take the responsibility of sparking that just by asking somebody else. They might not know the answer either, but now at least you’ve started the conversation. Somebody is starting to ask those questions and you don’t have to be on the technology team or in charge of your company’s website to ask those questions, you could be somebody who’s in talent acquisition, who’s in marketing and branding. Maybe you’re an intern. It doesn’t matter. Ask the question it’s really important. And then take a look at your current partners, your vendors, your suppliers, anywhere that you’re turning to for talent. Are you working with organizations that specifically support people with disabilities? Are you working with any local disability, non-profits or organizations supporting job seekers with disabilities? Make sure that you are diversifying your sources in that sense as well.

Emily:                                       You brought such an important point. Anyone can say something to start the conversation. And I do realize that it can be a little bit scary. You mentioned that an intern can start the conversation about website accessibility and sure, I would love to say that we live in a world where that’s absolutely possible in every workplace, but I also acknowledge that it can feel like when you’re in a lower or an entry-level position, or just starting out that speaking up and saying something about something like accessibility or accommodation feels really intimidating. And so, you point to a need for a culture shift so that we can encourage people to feel more comfortable so that we can foster those conversations. But on the flip side of that, I would say that I really hope that we find a shift towards a world where people feel more empowered to speak up and to say, “Hey, I’d like to see your website be more accessible. Hey, it would be really, really great if you could provide this accommodation.”

I know that it feels terrifying. I’ve been in that position before where I’ve had to ask for an accommodation or speak up about something as someone with a disability. And I was worried that I was going to be rebuffed, but if you don’t put yourself out there and begin to have this conversation, then the change is going to happen much more slowly. And so I think perhaps NDEAM is a really good time to use that as a jumping-off point for some of these conversations, say, “Hey, this is a national observance here and what better time to start than today to begin looking into our policies and our practices and to create that culture shift that we need.”

Sarah:                                      Yeah. I couldn’t agree with you more. I completely agree with your point that it can 100% feel intimidating, especially if you’re getting the lay of the land. Maybe you’re even sitting remotely because of the pandemic. And it’s not that same type of setup where you can just go over to somebody’s desk and ask them a question. It takes a little bit longer to build those types of relationships with people, especially if you are new, or if you are in a lower position, you’re not an executive or somebody in leadership. And to your point, I think just even saying that it’s NDEAM is a way to break the ice. It can make you feel a little bit more comfortable. It can potentially just soften the conversation a little bit in case the other person has no idea what you’re talking about when you ask about things like accommodations and accessibility, and you say, “Hey, just in case you weren’t aware, this is NDEAM.”

Even to say, I know there are other organizations that are really focused on this. You can go on social media during October, and it’s going to be everywhere. If you just look for that hashtag for NDEAM, you can find examples and show them to your colleagues as well of what other organizations are doing to create disability, inclusive cultures, which is pretty amazing to be able to show those types of live examples from others, either in your industry or just in general, across the country, other employer brands that you have always admired and looked up to. I think it’s definitely something to leverage.

Kyle:                                        It is all like so good to hear. It’s so refreshing to hear somebody in a position that works directly with employers to say all these things like as a person with a disability, I can’t tell you how often everything you’ve just told us over the past 20 or so minutes has crossed my mind. And I don’t mean to speak friendly, but I’m willing to bet your mind too and it’s just really, really nice to hear from a company doing this kind of work. Having said that, I was curious if you can debunk some myths about hiring people with disabilities?

Sarah:                                      Sure. And as you probably know, there are a lot, unfortunately, there are a lot out there. I’m going to start with one is my, I’ll say one of the top ones that I like to address because I think it applies to a lot of people, but there is an assumption that people with disabilities can’t perform their job as efficiently as a non-disabled person. You’re not as qualified as a non-disabled person. And maybe those aren’t the exact words that cross your mind. But there is a feeling you view a candidate with a disability a little bit differently. Maybe it’s even empathy or pity. Maybe it is admiration because you view their life as more challenging, but either way they’re viewed differently. And it takes away from their actual qualifications and you viewing them as you would any other candidate. If this has ever crossed your mind, what I always like to ask and challenge back is why do you feel that way?

What are you seeing when you imagine a person with a disability? Is it somebody in a wheelchair? Is it someone who you’re thinking needs constant assistance? And if it is, that’s okay because in reality, that’s what we see portrayed in media and the general perception of people with disabilities in our society. That’s I feel like what I’ve grown up with my entire life for decades. Just thinking about even the universal symbol for a parking space, is somebody in a wheelchair, thinking about what I see in movies, again, is somebody that has an apparent disability or somebody who cannot perform their daily activities by themselves with some kind of accommodation. It’s not an accurate portrayal to speak for the entire population of people with disabilities because there are so many disabilities. And so, I know a lot of listeners might already know this, but what we educate employers on is really just first and foremost, the population that over 70% of disabilities are not apparent. It can include epilepsy, ADHD, dyslexia, diabetes, your disability status can change as well. It’s not these stereotypical images that I think come to mind just first and foremost, when we really think about the population.

Emily:                                       Yeah. I’m really glad that you pointed to that because I think that as you mentioned, everyone has a pretty stereotypical vision in their head of what disability looks like. And the reality is the disability doesn’t look like anything. It looks like the individual person, and we have to sort of dispel the myth that disability looks any certain way. It can be accommodated in any one certain way. It’s a very, very individual thing. And I think also to your point about assumptions around people with disabilities needing a lot of support. Something that interesting question that comes up for me because I think that we tend to have these conversations with employers, where we try to point to the fact that people with disability are often highly independent and can often do so much by themselves.

But on the flip side of that, I think it’s also so important to make space in the workplace for people who do need a personal care attendant, who do need assistance. And so, it’s sort of towing that interesting line of getting employers to recognize that a lot of people with disabilities are very independent and a lot of people with disability are great workers who also happen to have different support needs. And so, it’s an interesting conversation because I know employers are sort of wary of disability either way. Either they don’t believe that people with disabilities can be independent or they don’t believe that people who have support needs can perform on the job. And so, trying to debunk two sides of what feels like a similar or the same myth is a challenge when you’re presented with those two images over and over again in the media.

Sarah:                                      It absolutely is. And I know what we hear a lot of time from employers, but I’ll just speak about myself even. I am definitely somebody who tries to be so politically correct when it comes to addressing certain groups or people. I never want to offend anybody and sometimes I’m so focused on that, that I freeze up. And I think a lot of times that is what happens to employers as well as they have the fear of offending somebody and they don’t want to, of course, that’s never their intention, but it’s just a question of how am I supposed to properly address somebody? What am I supposed to say? If somebody does disclose a disability, do I go the empathetic route and really ask more questions about their story? Am I not supposed to do that? There are just so many questions that employers have and by no means, are we, or am I suggesting that employers shouldn’t see disability.

That is not at all the message that we are giving to employers. You should see somebody for who they are and what they identify with. If somebody has a disability, I am not saying to ignore that and pretend that they don’t have one, but create processes, create policies that are just equal across the board for every candidate, for every person, for every employee. If you think about asking a candidate with a disability, maybe they have disclosed something, or maybe they have an apparent disability. If they need to request a reasonable accommodation, just standardize that, make that a question that you ask every single candidate, it’s going to create a better experience for everybody. This is not something that you need to create in terms of some kind of inclusive process, and then only implement it and use it when somebody discloses or somebody has an apparent disability because more times than not, you’re not going to be able to tell. It truly is up to that individual to decide when they want to share that type of personal information.

Emily:                                       Kyle and I are just like fist pumping over here. We like yes, everything you’re saying, yes.

Kyle:                                        Yeah, this is so great. Going off of all of that, what would you say in your opinion are some of the biggest challenges for disabled people when it comes to searching for jobs that specifically Getting Hired helps with like, do you have any specialties, I suppose?

Sarah:                                      Yeah. So, and I know we had like briefly just touched on it a little bit earlier, but again, one of the biggest employment barriers comes from, well, let’s start with the whole process. First, you hit a career site, you hit the application process. Maybe it’s not accessible, that’s employment barrier, number one. Immediately after that, our recruiters, hiring managers, talent acquisition, and by no means, is this a bash on talent acquisition and any kind of way. This is just some of the reality based on feedback that we’ve gotten from job seekers research that’s even out there. What we hear, even from those recruiters and hiring managers as well when we dive into why didn’t you hire this candidate?

It does come down to what is sometimes assumptions and stereotypes and bias. Especially again, if a candidate does disclose a disability or request an accommodation and you don’t feel comfortable in answering that question, you don’t know how to answer that question. Maybe it’s assuming how are they going to perform this job? And instead of remembering, just to ask questions, as you went to any other candidates, you get a little side-tracked and you start to tailor some of your questions towards that person or that candidate with a disability. Again, for us to try to address this as much as possible, it does come down to conversation. It does come down to training and to education. Do I believe a disability etiquette training will fix all of your problems? No, absolutely not. It takes a lot more than that.

You have to have reoccurring conversations. You have to have training for those recruiters, for those hiring managers, beyond that, for leadership, for HR, for everybody that’s involved in this with your marketing and branding team to understand the value and the importance of incorporating people with disabilities into all of your messaging, knowing that it’s a group that should be just as focused on as any other, a lot of the times, and maybe this is a terrible blunt thing that I’m saying, but a lot of times what it seems to be as the order of the hierarchy for a diversity focuses it’s women, veterans, minorities, and different races, or that has changed a little bit as of late. Maybe I would say people of various races and ethnicities are maybe a little bit higher on the list.

LGBTQ and disability tends to be at the bottom of the list for whatever reason, maybe it’s unintentional. I would like to think it’s unintentional for a lot of organizations, but that just is, and I think part of it is because it can feel intimidating. There are so many disabilities out there that people want to have all of this knowledge in. And if you don’t, you feel like I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to address this feeling like I don’t know where to find the talent. Again, what we’re doing is providing those, that education, that training, those guided conversations to address these difficult questions that recruiters don’t necessarily feel comfortable bringing up to their managers, but to say, “Hey, we’re creating a safe space here. Let’s talk about this.”

Even going through some bias, if a candidate has a speech impediment and they’re applying for a customer service position, do you think they’re less qualified? I do think that’s going to be a poor reflection on the level of service that’s provided from the organization. That really has nothing to do with their qualifications. Let’s talk about scenarios like that. That’s just one of the things that we provide and probably my most favorite are having those meaningful conversations.

Emily:                                       I love that because what we do on this podcast and have some of these difficult conversations and ask these hard questions. And the reality is that even if these questions feel like they might be ultimately hurtful or harmful to people, we need to get these questions out of the way in order to debunk them. And I think the other thing to keep in mind, especially now is that often companies try to very quickly be responsive to whatever is going on in the current climate of the world. And so, when you were talking about sort of hierarchical hiring priorities, I think that becomes an issue when companies forget about, as we were talking about before, the fact that identities intersect and the fact that people of color with disabilities are often even lower than white people, for example, with disability, when it comes to the hiring pool. And so, being able to openly and honestly discuss that these are realities in terms of the stereotypes that we hold.

And in terms of the fact that we forget that identities can intersect. And in terms of the fact that we forget, that we shouldn’t just be hiring responsively based on what’s going on in our current cultural and political climate, but that we should be meaningfully shifting our culture. That doesn’t happen without these hard conversations and pointing to these very real realities. I actually appreciate that you were willing to bring that up because that’s where we are right now. And we have to meet people where they’re at, even if it doesn’t feel so great because that’s how we’re going to move them away from where they are and create progress and that culture shift.

Sarah:                                      Absolutely. I couldn’t agree with you more. It is probably one of the hardest conversations to have because it sounds like between the three of us, we’re all on the same page. We understand the importance of focusing on the inclusion of people disabilities as you would for any other group. But a lot of times we still do hear that sentence of we’re just not ready. And it’s a question of why aren’t you ready? Let’s have it. And it doesn’t always dive in deep to the, to the reasoning as to why they’re not ready. Maybe it is leadership. Maybe it’s just the organization has priorities focused elsewhere. But again, it’s understanding that we are all people and there is that intersectionality.

And so, hey, your priority is promoting women in the workplace, women have disabilities too. If you want to support your employees in the lifetime, the long lifetime that they’re going to have within your organization, you have to know that anybody can acquire disability at any time, and it’s not just related to age. It can be somebody in their twenties, or thirties that has a disability or maybe that person is a caregiver to their family member of some kind. It’s not even necessarily apparent. Maybe it’s a child. Maybe it’s a spouse. Maybe it’s a sibling. And so, caregivers need accommodations too. Caregivers need to feel that culture of belonging and not feeling they’re going to be viewed or judged differently if they need a different, let’s say, flexible schedule to care for their family member if they disclose that information.

Kyle:                                        Wow. I mean, speaking as a disabled person in his twenties that is a very, very good point. And I love the fact that you brought up that disabled people sometimes have caretakers that might need flexible schedules or spouses that might need flexible schedules. That’s something that when you said it just made me go, “Oh yeah.” And I’m somebody I’m in this we’re born this way. That was excellent, I just love that. We’re nearing the end of our time and I would love it if you could tell us a Getting Hired success story?

Sarah:                                      Yeah. I would love to. Yeah. Just thinking about what really pops into my head first, when you say that is it’s on the employer side, of course, since we’re doing a lot more of our work with the employers. But one thing that I think about is I think Emily had mentioned as she phrased it earlier that holistic approach, the holistic solution and holding the employers to the standard of doing more than that bare minimum of just posting jobs. There’s one organization that I’m thinking of that we were working with. They had been trying to increase their disability hiring efforts and they really weren’t getting the success that they were trying to achieve because their efforts were a bit siloed.

It was really only being focused on by the talent acquisition team. No other departments were heavily involved. Leadership was not heavily involved. And even within that talent acquisition team, efforts mainly included posting jobs to various websites, trying to find different pipelines or sources for where to get talent from. We started a partnership with them as their disability strategists, we took the time to understand their business, their short term, their long-term goals for even diversity and inclusion as a whole. Where do you want to be as an organization? And we looked at their disability initiatives and resources that they currently had in place and created a custom plan for them just to build upon and leverage.

For example, they already had a disability employee resource group. And so we’re not going to come in and say, “Hey, that’s the first thing you have to do,” because they already had one and that’s not the right first place for every organization to start, but they already had a network of employees with disabilities through this employee resource group. And so, it’s identifying gaps that they had internally and helping to bridge those. Connecting that disability, ERG with the talent acquisition team, encouraging them to work together more and more closely, encouraging and asking the marketing team to work more with the talent acquisition team and understanding that leadership wasn’t driving enough messages of disability inclusion and for its employees with disabilities.

Pulling in all of those different departments, all of those different groups, intersecting them, but then implementing messages and best practices of disability inclusion within each of those. We took that kind of holistic approach and we co-created content with their marketing team. We provided live trainings and discussions with talent, acquisition, and leadership. We had them attend our virtual career fairs. And just from those simple changes alone, they successfully hired 10 candidates with disabilities, with disclosed disabilities. And they hadn’t seen that success before. And it was from, again, doing more than what I feel like is a little bit more of a passive effort and just posting your jobs. It really is being actively involved and that gave them the results that they were looking for.

Kyle:                                        That’s so cool.

Emily:                                       I love ending on this note. I was going to say the same thing. I’m always happy to hear a success story. I feel like sometimes it can feel a little bit defeating or frustrating when you talk about some of the barriers that still exist. Hearing a success story feels like a really, really good way to wrap up. And on that note, we actually do something at the end of every episode called final takeaways. Kyle, I’ll ask you for your final takeaway, I’ll give mine. And then Sarah, we would love to wrap it up with you. Kyle, what is your final takeaway?

Kyle:                                        My final takeaway is that I never realized even as a person with a disability, how much can go into hiring people with disabilities. And I feel like this whole episode is testament to how important it is and the results that you can achieve if employers just put in the effort.

Emily:                                       Yeah. I would totally echo that. And I’ll say I’m someone who was probably on the flip side of that, highly aware of all of this because a lot of the work that I do centers on this. And so being able to have open honest conversations about it feels really good. And I think my takeaway then is that we need to keep having more open, honest conversations.

Sarah:                                      Yeah. And Kyle, it wasn’t until you mentioned that I thought, you know what? People probably don’t understand all of the efforts that goes into this if you don’t sit on this side because you just think, “Hey, I’m somebody who disclosed or I am a diverse candidate, or just in general, I’m a qualified candidate, why am I not being picked?” But there are so many different focus areas for employers. There’s so much that goes into creating, again, that culture, those processes and policies of inclusion. Just echoing that just even made me think to myself, “Hey, remind job seekers as well that efforts are being made, but this is why it does take some time.”

But I would say my big takeaway, my last message is, again, even going back to the theme of NDEAM or knowing that NDEAM is coming up for job seekers with disabilities, if I can encourage anybody to take on the role of being the educator, then I highly encourage you to go out on a limb and do that. Recruiters don’t know everything. Talent acquisition does not know everything. Employers don’t know everything. Because again, we’re all just people and we’re all learning about experiences that if we don’t have those personally, we don’t know a lot about, I think right now, we are in a place right now as a country.

Many of us in this country are in a place where we’re willing to learn and educate ourselves. And if you can educate somebody during that hiring process, interview process on, “Hey, here is an accommodation that I would need. Here’s the process. Here’s what I know typically would happen. Educate yourself too. Know what your rights are under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Know what people are legally allowed to ask you and not ask you, but share your story with employers, with whoever you feel comfortable with, as long as you feel comfortable.” There’s so much power in doing that and I think to Emily’s point earlier if we don’t share those stories then people feel like there isn’t representation and they feel like it doesn’t need to be prioritized so we all have to start speaking up if we can.

Emily:                                       Sarah, you are awesome and this has been awesome and we are both so grateful it’s you have been able to have a little real talk about disability employment with you and we’re also really grateful to you Getting Hired for sponsoring this episode and so we hope especially that if you are seeking a job or if you’re an employer who’s interested in diversifying your talent pool that you’re going to go check out Getting Hired. It’s a resource. It’s there for you. Use it.

Sarah:                                      Absolutely. Thank you so much again for having me. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the both of you and the work that you’re doing, the knowledge that you are spreading and just having me today. I appreciate it so much.

Kyle:                                        The pleasure is ours. Thank you so, so much for your time.

Emily:                                       And this has been another episode of The Accessible Stall. I’m Emily.

Kyle:                                        I’m Kyle.

Emily:                                       Thank you so much for listening and may we say.

Kyle:                                        You look great today.

Emily:                                       Bye, everyone.