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Best Practice for Assessing Candidates with Disability

Why consider candidates with disability? It’s the law.

The Disability Act of 2006 asserts that it’s unlawful for employers to discriminate against a person on the grounds of their disability when determining who should be offered employment, or deciding the terms or conditions upon which employment is offered.

This legislation applies to recruitment, conditions of employment, training and development, promotions and dismissals. As an employer, it is your legal responsibility to make reasonable adjustments to recruitment processes for individuals with disability.

This means that any assessment technique used during recruitment must be free of requirements that place a person with disability at a substantial disadvantage, unless the requirement can be justified (based on specific criteria stipulated by the federal government). If an individual perceives that an employer has treated them unfairly they have the right to legally challenge that employer.

Assessing candidates with disability and special needs.

For some candidates with a disability, psychometric tests may pose an intimidating barrier – even if they have had previous experience in the role and feel confident that they can perform the job well.

However, it’s wrong to assume that testing will discourage candidates with a disability. In fact, many “differently abled” individuals relish the opportunity to demonstrate their skills using this objective, unbiased medium. The recruiter’s challenge is to then to provide assessments in such a way that the candidate is able to “shine” and put their best foot forward.

When assessing a candidate with a disability, two main elements of an assessment may inhibit performance:

a) The form or content of the test itself, and,
b) The way in which the test is administered.

The recruiter has a legal responsibility to address these elements and also to understand the implications that certain test forms and procedures may have for individuals with disability – and proactively make arrangements that effectively accommodate these differences. Taking this responsibility seriously is critical if your organisation wants to recruit for diversity and also adhere to the law.

Recruiters need to be leveraging all available resources to ensure all candidates – including those with a disability – face an equally fair assessment, to facilitate optimal performance.

Stages of the Testing Process: 5 Key Considerations

  1. Establishing job requirements & advertising: A comprehensive job analysis needs to be completed (clearly identifying duties and competencies required), before assessment tools are chosen. It is important to identify the core, essential elements of the job that cannot be altered, so you can then objectively assess applicants against these criteria (VEOHRC, 2014).
  2. Selecting a psychometric assessment: All tests used must be clearly relevant to the job, and relate directly to the genuine requirements of the role. Employers should be able to define the precise purpose of using a particular test (APS, 2016). For instance, if a verbal reasoning assessment is being used, consider how central this is to the role. In the working environment, will the candidate be regularly reading and reasoning with written material, or will information be presented in other ways?
  3. Inviting candidates to complete testing: Every candidate, regardless of whether they have a disability, may have individual needs or concerns regarding the online testing process. It is best practice to address these prior to administering an assessment.
  4. Administration: The way in which the test is administered may need to be adjusted to ensure that a person with disability is given the same opportunity to perform as test-takers without disability. There is no simple rule of thumb in deciding how to adjust a test fairly, and it is always a matter of professional judgment. The goal of all test adjustments, however, should be to help remove distortions in candidates’ scores caused by the test format or environment (Behuniak, 2002).
  5. Scoring and interpretation of results: Any adjustments made to testing procedures will have corresponding implications for the interpretation of results. Ideally, tests should aim to either include individuals with relevant disabilities in their norm (comparison) groups, or have separate norm groups available (APA, 2011).

Want to know more? Download our Best Practice white paper.

Read more detailed and expanded information about each of the above key considerations by downloading our recent white paper: Best Practice for Assessing Candidates with Disability