June 2017

Why recruitment companies websites should be accessible

Love them or loathe them, there is always going to be a large place in the market for recruitment companies. This is because as our pool of developer talent in the UK decreases (or is exported to other markets) then their existing contacts and connections mean they hold more power over companies wanting to hire the best talent in the market.

I’m a very experienced Accessibility & Freelance CTO. I learned to code at a young age but development is not something that can be easily or quickly taught. It’s as much about art and experience as it is knowledge. This is why there is a shortage of good developers in many parts of the UK.

Invest in People

Out of our own curiosity we looked at the websites of the 2 biggest UK recruitment agencies using an experienced eye and our in house assistive software. They both failed even some simple accessibility standards.

Lots of recruiters tell us that they have an “accessibility statement “ in the footer of their website but simply stating that you INTEND to be accessible is not sufficient. You have to follow through with it. We have got to know lots of talented (and we mean talented) people with minor disabilities who, because a recruiter’s website is not accessible, end up falling through the cracks. They don’t even get a shot at jobs the recruiter is trying to fill.

Many recruitment companies are “Investors in People” but when we look closely at their site we find that they are extremely difficult to navigate using assistive technology.

At the minimum they should implement the following to ensure that everyone gets the
opportunity to be considered for great jobs

  • Text enlargement function for all text (particularly job specs
  • Clear, accessible minded design throughout the website
  • alt tagging images with clear simple text telling the website’s code what the image is of
    so assistive technology can read it.
  • All your forms should be larger/have an enlargement function.
  • Regular accessibility checks every 3 months that lead to meaningful incremental site
    improvements
  • Meet at least AA level (there are 3 levels, AA is the middle level and a good
    starting point of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0
  • You should have a disability statement that MEANS something, because you are always actively trying to improve your site.

Recruiters, think outside of the box

It’s an overused phrase maybe, but entirely appropriate for what needs to happen in
the recruitment industry before we see any meaningful change. If you leave barriers for access in place then you leave a whole pool of potential talent going to waste. And they need to take the first steps to change – not rely on people with disabilities to try and find their own workarounds to the problems facing them being hired. You need to not only give people with a disability easy access to your site but then give them the support they need to work effectively in their new role.

If you are a recruitment agency and don’t feel that you are doing enough or everything possible thing that you
can to get the best people into the right role regardless of a candidate’s ability, then get in touch to discuss
how I could turn this around