By Paul Hanrahan, Talent Acquisition Manager for the South Coast and Central UK region of Enterprise.
I would like to share my experiences as a recruiter for our Graduate Management Training Programme and demonstrate what we mean by being inclusive at Enterprise. Let me do this by introducing you to John and James (names have been changed), who have recently started their careers with us at Enterprise.
John is a graduate with extensive experience in customer service and sales. He’s got a wicked sense of humour. He is competitive, driven and hungry for a career in management.
During the recruitment process, he excelled in the telephone interview, engaged well with the team when interviewing face to face and conducted himself very well in the practical exercises at our assessment centre.
The first time I met John was when he came into our building and introduced himself. I held out my right hand to shake his, however, he failed to remove his right hand from his jacket pocket and instead took my hand in his left hand. I also noticed that John walked with quite a prominent limp.
During the interview, John’s skills and past work experience were discussed and he certainly appeared to have the capabilities to do the job. His relevant work experience and personal traits really lent themselves to our Management Training Programme, so he was offered the job.
We focused on what John could do, rather than what he couldn’t do.
We discussed the driving element within the expected role and what he would need as an adjustment to be able to perform successfully. It transpired that John had a license to drive automatic vehicles and uses adaptive steering and pedal controls.
This is something that we have experience of since it is an option that we can have fitted to our vehicles to allow our disabled customers to be able to rent from us. With this in mind, we had the relevant equipment installed for John’s car.
Next, we met James
James is a reminder that not everybody is born with a disability and that 83% of all disabled people in the UK acquire a disability later in life. James initially started his career in the army. He served a number of tours in Afghanistan however two weeks before the end of his final tour and discharge, James was caught in an explosion from a roadside device and suffered significant injuries to his hip and back.
After a hip replacement and 2 replaced vertebrae, James had to learn to walk again and use a stick to keep himself stable and to take the pressure off the injured area of his body.
When James applied to Enterprise to join our Management Training Programme, he interviewed very well and was an exceptionally interesting person to talk to regarding his life experiences and his career to date.
We asked what adjustment he would require in order to engage fully in the driving aspects of the role and he told us, “my hip locks if I’m in the same position for more than three quarters of an hour, all I need to do is be able to pull over, get out of the car and walk around for five minutes, then I’m fine again.”
Hardly an unfair request to enable a fantastic candidate to begin their hopefully long and successful career with us.
My experiences with John and James show that it is often just subtle changes that are required to include a wider range of talented graduates in the recruitment process. If you disclose your disability, many recruiters are willing to make changes, such as printing assessment materials on a coloured paper or allowing extra time for the assessment, in order to provide you with the chance to demonstrate your ability for the role.