Asking for Reasonable Adjustments at Interview

Creating an inclusive workplace where those with disabilities and other physical or mental health conditions feel confident that they can apply, share their needs and adjustments and succeed both during the hiring process and beyond is incredibly important, particularly given the phenomenal benefits, talent and skillsets a diverse and inclusive workforce can bring into our organisations.

Creating a workforce like this starts right from the initial hiring stage. We have all applied for roles and seen a sentence that says ‘please let us know if you require any reasonable adjustments for this process’ but what does this mean, who can request them and what reasonable adjustments can be put in place?

Reasonable Adjustments are changes that an organisation can put in place based upon the request of a candidate who is at a disadvantage compared to other candidates because of a disability, physical or mental health condition to ensure they are able to perform to the best of their ability both in the hiring process and beyond that in the workplace.

As stated in the Equality Act 2010, you’re disabled if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities. You can read more about the Equality Act here.

Some examples of those who can request reasonable adjustments include but are not limited to:

  • Disabled candidates
  • Visually impaired candidates
  • Deaf candidates
  • Neurodiverse candidates
  • Those with learning difficulties such as dyslexia, dyscalculia or dysgraphia
  • Candidates with epilepsy
  • Other long term, chronic or mental health conditions

Examples of reasonable adjustments when applying and interviewing for jobs include:

  • Requesting a different format of the job description and details, for example in braille or asking for text to speech technology to be applied if you don’t have a screen reader 
  • An alternative application format – for example sending a video or audio application as oppose to a written application, or requesting any application assessments or questionnaires in different formats for example in audio format, braille or larger text.
  • Changes in location of the interview to being face to face or online
  • Changes to the time of the interview - for example for candidates who find it difficult travelling during rush hour times, or if they need to take medication and eat at certain times.
  • An accessible interview room
  • Access to a disabled toilet – not just for those in a wheelchair but those with chronic health conditions who may have catheters or stomas for example.
  • Extra time to answer questions during the interview or to complete a task
  • Requesting the interview questions or any tasks ahead of time
  • Breaks in long interviews or between interviews with a large interview panel
  • Adjustments to light and sound
  • Asking for an advocate, support worker, sign language interpreter or other support person to be present
  • Bringing an assistance dog to the interview
  • Support with completing any tests or tasks, for example a larger screen, someone to read for you or a software or app to help
  • The option to present tasks back differently, for example verbally rather than written

How to ask for adjustments:

  • Ask for the full details of the interview including location, time, format and the interview panel
  • Explain what you need and why – don’t assume that the interviewer will be knowledgeable about your disability or condition and how best to support you
  • Make sure your reasonable adjustments are recorded/ written down in agreement ahead of the interview

You have been selected to interview for a reason and the hirer wants you to perform just as well as you want to, so don’t be worried to ask for Reasonable Adjustments in order to ensure you are feeling the most confident and comfortable you both can and deserve to be in order to succeed during the hiring process!

You can also explore similar topics on how to attract, interview and retain neurodiverse talent as well as advice for those who have been diagnosed with a chronic or long-term health condition and how to discuss your health needs with your employer here.

We are delighted to be able to share our advice, knowledge and insights from our experiences working with so many fantastic candidates and clients during their recruitment processes and are always interested in learning more so do get in touch with us if there is something you would like us to help with or anything you wish to share.