While the academic term may have finished, for those who have been applying for graduate jobs the hard work continues as you begin to prepare for your interviews and assessment centres. In addition to practicing online tests and how to answer interview questions, if you require a change or adjustment to the process, you will also need to be thinking about how you are going to ask for what you need.
What Is Reasonable
Employers often talk about ‘reasonable’ adjustments but how do you know what is reasonable to ask for? A good question to ask yourself is “what do I need in order to demonstrate my potential?” The key word here is ‘need’; if you need it rather than simply want it, it is likely to be reasonable.
To work out what you need you will first have to find out what the process involves. You should then challenge yourself to think broadly about what you need at each stage of the process remembering that adjustments go way beyond extra time and access. Other adjustments include (but are not limited to) the use of a PC, the provision of an interpreter, a change in format to the interview and an orientation visit.
As a wheelchair user, I remember requesting a parking space to be reserved and ensuring that there was access at the venue including an accessible toilet. If I were requesting adjustments now I would also ask to ensure that the desk is an appropriate height in order that my knees can fit under it. In addition, I would request that the breaks are sufficiently long enough to enable me to use the toilet and get a drink since I often found that by the time I had used the toilet it was time to start again.
3 Simple Steps
Once you are clear about the adjustments you are going to request, you then need to work how to request them. Following these 3 steps is a great way of working out what to say:
This is my disability/condition
This is the implication for the recruitment process
As a consequence, this is what I require.
Using these 3 steps you can put together your ‘openness statement’ which you can share with employers as and when you need to.
Find out what each stage of the recruitment process involves in order to determine what adjustments you will need.
Be confident to ask for what you require and be prepared to explain why.
Help the employer to understand what you need and the potential consequences of not receiving the support you require.
Be reasonable. Remember that adjustments are there to ‘level the playing field’ rather than to provide you with an advantage.