I Can't Access The Interview!


by Gemma Stuart

8th April 2019

As a recruiter, I'm acutely aware of the challenges my candidates face in their search for a new job. I spend much of my day talking to people about their current frustrations and concerns; the reasons for their job search; the type of work they really enjoy and the work culture where they believe they will thrive.

I thought I had a good sense of the current challenges facing job seekers and then I met Ruaridh and he revealed a whole new perspective.

How did he do that? Just by being himself.

Ruaridh has cerebral palsy and we met because he is currently exploring every avenue he can think of in order to secure employment.

After discussing his employment history and skills we moved on to talk about his job hunting experience so far. Here's a quick anecdote that might help you visualise Ruaridh's challenge.

It is standard practice for recruiters to share advice with their candidates on how they can best prepare for interview, and that includes mapping out the journey to ensure they know the exact location and how long it will take them to get there. Ruaridh did his homework, arrived in plenty of time, at the right place, but was unable to gain access to the interview because the doors of the building were too heavy to open!

Meeting Ruaridh spurred me on to do a bit of research, to get my head around the size of the issue. It is how I discovered the study by disability charity Scope, in partnership with Virgin Media, and their campaign #workwithme. I did not know that:

  • Disabled people have to apply for 60% more jobs than non-disabled people to secure a role.
  • Only 50% of applications result in interviews, compared to 69 percent for applicants without disabilities.
  • People with disabilities in the UK have a 9.1% unemployment rate, compared to 3.6% unemployment rate for non-disabled people.

I also discovered that the large employment gap for disabled people led Liz Johnson, former Paralympic gold medallist for Team GB, to co-found The Ability People (TAP). Since meeting Ruaridh, I particularly appreciated this quote attributed to Liz

"We're not focused on what people can't do, we're focused on what people can do."

It is with this sentiment in mind that I wanted to highlight Ruaridh and share a little of what he has to offer:

  • Work experience on finite element models of pedestal crane booms for the Buzzard and Golden eagle platform.
  • Health and Safety Co-ordinator – AWPR.
  • Worked through the Prince's Trust "Get Into Civil Engineering" programme.
  • SVQ in Health and Safety and HNC in Electrical Engineering.
  • Computer literacy: knowledge of AutoCAD, Inventor and Microsoft packages.

The type of work Ruaridh is looking for is:

  • Trainee Draughtsperson/Designer.
  • Health and Safety Administrator/Coordinator.
  • Office Administration.

And what does his disability mean in the workplace?

  • Ruaridh needs to be desk based within an office environment, with wheelchair access to all facilities.

I now have a much better appreciation for why disabled people may feel excluded from the jobs market. Perhaps you do too, so here's my contact details if you'd like to know more about my enthusiastic and pragmatic candidate. Tel 01224 327 000 or email gstuart@thorpemolloy.com.

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