Accommodating Candidates with Disabilities During Interviews

McGill University is committed to fostering an equitable, accessible, and inclusive workplace. As such, the University is committed to ensuring that all employees enjoy equal opportunity free from discrimination prohibited by law, including discrimination on the basis of a disability. Candidates with disabilities have the right to receive reasonable accommodations throughout the hiring process, including the interview.

As a member of the hiring committee you may need to respond to a request for accommodations. This article guides you through the accommodation process and provides additional prompts or resources specific to the interview process.

Requesting accommodations

All candidates should be made aware of their ability to request accommodations during the interview process. This can be done by:

  • Including a sentence in all job postings such as:
    • Persons with disabilities who anticipate needing accommodations for any part of the application process may contact, in confidence, accessibilityrequest.hr [at] mcgill.ca
    • All jobs created in Workday have this phrase included automatically
  • Including this sentence at each stage of the recruitment process (e.g. invitation to an interview)

Commonly requested accommodations

The following are examples of accommodations that employees may request in preparation for an interview:

Physical access

  • Location that is physically accessible to the candidate (e.g. stairfree access, elevator, accessible washroom, doors with push buttons)
    • Individuals’ access needs vary, and what is accessible to one candidate does not mean it’s accessible for all. Ask clarifying questions to know what the physical requirements of the space should be. Book your interview location based on the candidates’ accessibility requirements
  • Adjusted lighting. For example: natural light, no fluorescent overhead lights, well-lit interview area
  • Scentfree or reduced scent environment: the hiring committee should be asked to refrain from wearing perfumes or scented personal care products for the interview
  • Presence of an attendant, personal support worker or service animal
  • Seating arrangements that allow the candidate see interviewer’s face clearly (e.g. helps with lip reading)
  • A quiet location with reduced ambient noise. A noisy interview setting may introduce barriers to hearing and/or focusing for the candidate

Timing

  • Interviews scheduled during a time of the day when the candidate experiences the least disability-related barriers
    • For example, some people with disabilities depend on personal care workers and Paratransit, which may restrict their availability. Medications, and energy levels can also impact the timing that a candidate may request

Communication

  • Sign Language Interpreter: Deaf candidates who communicate may request the presence of an interpreter (e.g. ASL or LSQ) during the interview
  • Assistive communication devices
    • Individuals may use personal assistive communication devices. This may require your participation (e.g. wearing a lapel microphone, typing into a Brailler). If you are unsure how to use the equipment, just ask! People with disabilities are the experts on their own needs

Academic Hiring Considerations

The hiring process for academic staff differs from that of administrative staff at the university. In addition to a traditional interview, academic staff may be asked to participate in:

  • Site visits (e.g. visiting labs, classrooms, and other learning facilities)
  • Job talks
  • Meetings
  • Social activities (e.g. meeting with colleagues in the department)

In addition to the accommodations listed in the above section, there are a few other considerations to keep in mind when planning for these types of hiring activities.

  • Provide breaks throughout the day. By staggering activities throughout the day, with breaks in between, you are creating space for candidates to self-regulate, manage their health needs, and optimize their performance. A best practice is to provide a minimum of a 15 minute break following each activity of 2 hours or more
  • Do not forget – candidates need to eat! Remembering to schedule meal breaks during the day so that the candidate can eat is important. Omitting or skipping mealtimes can have serious health implications for anyone, but especially those with disabilities and other health conditions
  • Provide a schedule of the day in advance. This allows the candidate to signal any accessibility needs they may have ahead of time. Different disability-related barriers may surface in different environments, so the more information provided ahead of time, the more barriers can be avoided
  • Plan for travel and wayfinding. If you are planning activities that take place at different buildings across campus, check in with your candidate to see if they have any mobility-related access needs. You may want to schedule on-campus adapted transportation on behalf of your candidate. The Interactive Accessibility Network map is another helpful tool that will allow you/candidate to plan their route around campus based on their accessibility needs

Additional Resources

Questions about accommodating candidates with disabilities during interviews? You are welcome to reach out to:

  • Rachel Desjourdy (Accessibility Advisor): Rachel.desjourdy [at] mcgill.ca
  • Sara Pierre (Employment Equity Advisor): sara.pierre [at] mcgill.ca
  • Tynan Jarrett (Senior Employment Equity Advisor): tynan.jarrett [at] mcgill.ca

 

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act has a helpful resource on How to Make the Hiring Process Accessible

 

 


McGill University is situated on the traditional territory of the Kanien’kehà:ka, a place which has long served as a site of meeting and exchange amongst nations. We recognize and respect the Kanien’kehà:ka as the traditional custodians of the lands and waters on which we meet today.

For more information about traditional territory and tips on how to make a land acknowledgement, visit our Land Acknowledgement webpage.


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