How do you ask a company for something, while trying to convince them to hire you?

THE PROBLEM

How do you ask a company for something, while trying to convince them to hire you? This is the dilemma some candidates with disabilities face. Imagine trying to convince a company to hire you, while simultaneously asking them for a favor.

These "favors" aren't really favors though. They are accommodations. Accommodations can be anything a person with a disability might need to complete a task. An American Sign Language interpreter might be an accommodation for a Deaf person during an in person meeting. A #2 pencil could be an accomodation for a person who has difficulty typing on a keyboard.

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires companies to provide "reasonable" accommodations to candidates during the hiring process. However, asking for an accommodation can be easier said than done, especially because candidates with disabilities feel it could open them up to bias during the hiring process.

This project is a look into our client's current hiring process for people with disabilities and how to improve the experience of requesting an accommodation, so candidates with disabilities can thrive.

KEY STATISTICS

19%

Current percentage of the U.S. Population with a disability.

25%

Percentage of the U.S. Population projected to have a disability by 2020.

20.9%

The percentage of people with disabilities who participate in the U.S. Labor Force.

68.3%

The percentage of people without disabilities who participate in the U.S. Labor Force

8.0%

The unemployment rate for people with disabilities.

3.5%

The unemployment rate for people without disabilities.

THE CLIENT

Bloomberg is a global financial media and technology company.Bloomberg is dedicated to creating the most inclusive work environment possible. In the Spring and Summer of 2018, they approached our team, to understand how they could make hiring and onboarding as inclusive as possible for people with disabilities.

19,000 Employees
176 Locations
5,000 Daily Stories
325,000+ Customers

OUR RESEARCH

We started with the assumption that the hardest part for people with disabilities was in securing the accommodations they need.

Disclose Your Disability
Secure the right Accomodation
Perform in the Role

INSIGHT

However, based on our research, we uncovered that the most difficult part of the current experience for people with disabilities was actually asking for an accommodation, disclosing their disability in the first place.

Imagine that you have to email your recruiter to let them know that you have a disability. But you don’t want it to affect your candidacy. What would you say?

No matter what your disability is there are some things that are hard to explain. It is difficult to explain what you are capable of and what exact accommodations you need.It has been hard to say what I would need.
Frank, Motor Impairment

OUR GOAL

Our team set out to create something that would help people with disabilities feel more comfortable asking for what they need.We brainstormed a ton of concepts, and tested them with people with disabilites to understand what to pursue.

  • A mentoring platform
  • A virtual assistant
  • A transferrable profile
  • A disclosure calculator
  • An anonymous forum
  • A cooperative game
  • A VR storytelling experience
  • A dashboard of disclosure information
  • A company accessibility review site
  • Add Your Own Ideas here!

FINDINGS

There are a variety of factors that influence the disclosure decision for people with disabilities.After testing out these initial designs, we realized that there are a variety of factors that go into the disclosure decision for people with disabilities. Imagine trying to balance the following factors to make your own disclosure decision:

TRUST

I do not trust this company
I trust this company a lot
Unsure

IDENTITY

I do not identify as a person with a disability
I strongly identify as a person with a disability
Unsure

HISTORY

My disability is recent
I strongly identify as a person with a disability
Unsure

VISIBILITY

My disability is not visible in this situation
My disability will be very visible in this situation
Unsure

NECESSITY

I will not need to do anything that involves my disability
I will need to do something that is affected by my disability
Unsure

Wouldn't you be confused about what to do when balancing all of these options? There is a huge amount of uncertainty.

Principles

Our team decided to focus on creating a resource that could help reduce uncertainty for candidates in this situation.

We wanted to create something that could successfully provide information about what a person would need to be able to do during the interview process. In order to make something usable, we focused on a model that one of our research participants shared, for making the disclosure decision:

Understand What is expected of me?
Evaluate For what might I need an accommodation?
Act How can I easily ask for an accommodation?

But how could our client handle these requests once they came in? Based on our prior research on how the hiring process works for people with disabilities we also discovered that recruiters and recruiting coordinators also felt undue uncertainty about how they could do a better job of growing their accessibility expertise.

We had to accommodate a person with a hearing impairment and it threw us into a panic. We started thinking - do we have these things? We just didn't know where to start.
Rosa, Recruiting

OPPORTUNITY

We saw a great opportunity to reduce uncertainty for both candidates and recruiting coordinators, by giving both sides the ability to understand, evaluate and act.

By creating a system that allows more candidates with disabilities to make informed and confident disclosure decisions and that gives coordinators the ability to make sure these accommodations are in place, our client is positioned to grow the diversity of its workforce.

Talent

More candidates, both with and without disabilities, can be attracted

Innovation

A more diverse workforce leads to an even more innovative company

Brand

Continue to grow a reputation as an inclusive place to work and interview

Partnerships

Learnings from this tool can be used to enhance relationships with clients and partners with disabilities