PEAT Talks Transcript: GettingHired

Welcome and Logistics

Hello and welcome to PEAT Talks, the virtual speaker series from the Partnership on Employment and Accessible Technology. PEAT Talks showcases various organizations and individuals whose work and innovations are advancing accessible technology in the workplace. I am Christa Beal, I’m a member of the PEAT team, and I will be hosting today's talk.

PEAT is pleased to welcome Adam Streets as our special guest. Adam is the senior director of marketing and product owner of GettingHired, an organization that strives to bridge the gap between jobseekers with disabilities and inclusive employers. Adam has worked in the staffing and recruiting industry since 2007 and over the last two years has been redefining be GettingHired brand and website to present jobs on a fully accessible platform, and better serve people with disabilities.

Adam will be speaking about GettingHired’s accessible platform for job speakers with disabilities and how the company gathers feedback from jobseekers to identify frustrations, accessibility issues, and best practices to share with both hiring managers and job seekers with disabilities. PEAT also conducted a survey on accessibility and online job seeking and recently posted some of our findings on PEATworks.org, which we definitely encourage you to check out after our talk. We’re working on additional resources for employers that will become available later this year and offer solutions are making the job search and application process more and accessible.

We have been lucky enough to tap into GettingHired’s expertise to inform our work in this area. With that, I will turn things over to Adam.

Presentation

Thanks a lot. I really appreciate being here. We have some great survey results that we want to talk to you about today. These survey results come specifically out of GettingHired and are from jobseekers with disabilities. A little bit for the landscape. Who is GettingHired? GettingHired is mainly a job board that helps jobseekers with disabilities of find employment with our inclusive partners. Right now we have over 115,000 jobseekers in our system and over 187 clients that we currently work with.

The labor market in which we are currently trying to assist jobseekers with disabilities is made up of about 5.9 million people in the labor force. At the end of the day when these jobseekers go to a position, those positions are filled up about 250 other resumes for every single job posted. A recruiter actually has about 6 seconds to review a resume when it comes through. The first resume that comes through comes in in under less than four minutes. We know that there is an overwhelming amount of jobseekers other looking for a position, and not a lot of time for an HR person to actually sift through the number of resumes that their company is trying to currently fill.

 What does this mean? For us, it means that we see about 85,000 jobseekers come to our website a month. 62% of them are jobseekers that are coming back every month, every 30 days, looking for a new job. They look at three or four pages of jobs every time they come in. Each month we get about 924 people just applying to jobs through GettingHired.

What we end up doing is starting conducting surveys. What we really want to understand is our jobseekers’ frustrations, what they are looking for, how they are trying to apply to a job , and anything that happens in their entire experience when they are looking for something online. In addition to that, we also like to poll our jobseekers on a monthly basis for every single job seeker that has applied to a job within that given month.

Really quick, a little bit about our yearly survey. Some of the job seeker frustrations, I'm sure that none of these are going to be a complete surprise to all of you. But little to no response for a job that they have applied to is the number one issue that all jobseekers face. That doesn't matter whether you are a job seeker with or without a disability. That is the number one issue for all jobseekers. They never hear back.

The other one is, I haven't heard from an employer after I interview. In some cases you run into that issue as well. Within specific companies they have rules that they have to follow that say they are not supposed to give out too much information after an interview, saying that maybe you haven't received that job. One of the interesting pieces that we had, was 19% of our jobseekers, and we do pull this every year, they came back and said that the websites are not accessible.

Accessibility in our mind is a lot of different things. It is not just a functionality that you have on a website to be able to find a job or to apply to a job, but it can also be the job description as well. If a job description comes in, if it is too difficult for a person to be able to meet all of the requirements, it is not really accessible. Does the person need to sit at their desk for 8 hours a day? Then probably not. But there are certain things in there that start eliminating people from the job application standpoint.

As we started looking at these monthly surveys, we wanted to understand what was limiting jobseekers. What are the additional frustrations outside of the ones where nobody calls me back? As we start looking at our jobseekers as a whole, we said, what is the makeup of the jobseekers that are actually applying to these positions? First off is the education level. 99% of our jobseekers are at least high school graduates. 49% are college graduates, and 19% have advanced degrees. In most cases that is higher than the national average. The employment status, 53% are unemployed, 25% are employed full or part-time and 5% are full-time students. We do proactively look for students that are getting ready to start their careers and move out into the workforce. 7% are on disability leave. 76% of those jobseekers complete applications with the employers.

Within our site, when you click apply you have to finish up on an APS system. The APS system is usually controlled by the clients that we work with. When you start talking about the APS system, accessibility comes into play as well. Not a lot of the applicant tracking systems out there are accessible. If they are accessible, they are no longer accessible if you customize something within the applicant tracking system.

As organizations are trying to cut back on the 250 resumes per job, they start adding the second section of job application requirements around quizzes or tests, or additional questions that a person has to answer in order for them to be part of a talent pool. In some cases, if you are on a screen reader, if the page refreshes in front of you and you are not notified that that is changing or that something is changing on the page you may never see the questions. If you cannot complete the questions, you are not part of the people that they will look at for that job. A small thing with a big issue tied to it.

The other thing that we started seeing was the accommodations. We recommend all of our clients, that you have an accommodation statement. A secondary space for a person to be able to come in and say, I cannot fill out the information needed on this page of the applicant tracking system. Is there an alternative way for me to apply to the job? Can I send an email? Can I make a phone call? Can you help me upload my resume? 13% of our jobseekers actually required accommodation to complete that application process.

The next question is, what is important to our jobseekers? Based on our poll we actually noticed that not a single respondent came back and said that accessibility and ease of use is not important to them. It is actually extremely important to them. Outside of the customer service and feedback from employers, or even the variety types of jobs, having an accessible and easy to use website for them to be able to apply to a position is very important to all of our jobseekers, especially ones with a disability.

Why didn't they apply? This is a question that everyone asks. I see the people that came into the website and did not finish their application. Of course we have an other bucket, but some people did not meet realized that they needed to. They filled a little bit of information and thought that they were done. They did not know that they had come back and drop off something else. Some people said it was too time-consuming. That is pretty standard. If you are asked two pages of questions and you have to fill all of your information, they get tired and decide not to finish. Or again, the employer site may not be accessible. Some of them are prohibited. They forgot their logins for the ATS system. When they read the full description they realized they were not qualified or face a work restriction. I did go back and say the job discussions are part of the accessibility piece. If the person cannot see the opportunity or there is a work restriction, they cannot apply for that job. And for the majority, no openings were available in their location.

An accommodation request. Was there a need for an accommodation? We have the other category, but the accommodation statement did not contain up-to-date contact information. A very simple tweak that, if done right, the person has the ease-of-use to turn around an email or make a phone call, or do whatever that is. Some have asked for accommodation and cannot be reasonably be met. That is a broad area. Accommodations are less open to the employer. This is just what we hear from our jobseekers.

I was unable to access the employers career page. That could simply be because of the way the website was set up, or the way that the jobs are being fed into the website. Some of the nice features that you may get from a website would be to use a JavaScript applet to pull jobs in, which may not be accessible for people with a disability. You may not be able to use your key shift or may not be able to see it from a screen reader. But the job is on the website, people could just not see them. The accommodation statement was not easily recognizable. In some cases there are on a diversity and inclusion page, but they are not with the actual jobs. A very simple change, a very big impact.

Some of the extra things for the way GettingHired tries to help the job seeker. Every day we send out the automated email to all of the employers that we have connections with, to say these job seekers have applied to your jobs. Here's their name and what job they applied for, when they applied, the job location, and all of that is attached to their resume.

Because we know that people drop off. They drop off for a number of different reasons, just like we saw. We want to make sure that out of the 250 people that applied for that job, the jobseekers coming through GettingHired are not forgotten about. We do this on behalf of our job seekers free of charge because we have our relationship with the client. We want our client to be able to hire more people with disabilities.

We also provide webinars, educational information and do all of that for our jobseekers and employers. Free educational webinars. We are on every social channel that you would possibly be on. We have over 100,000 jobs at any given time on our website. We do job alerts. We have a right match function that allows job seekers to put in a little bit of information about themselves and receive emails with new jobs that are posted every day. We also do exclusive blog content from a number of industry experts both internal here at GettingHired with years of experience in the staffing and recruiting industry as well as a couple of outside writers who in some cases have a disability, and have had great careers during their lifetime. We also like to offer up free virtual career fairs. We have another one coming up in October. Again, all of our different ways for us to reach out, we do communicate back to our jobseekers as well as our employer partners. If you need anything, please feel free to reach out. Thank you very much.

Questions

All right. Great. Thank you Adam. I think now we will dive into a few questions that were asked. First of all, are the findings from your survey published?

They are published in pieces. We tend to take some of the big snippets and put them into blog articles and push them out. Because we are doing our monthly survey, each month that is actually going to be aggregated over the year. We plan on publishing a lot of that data in the beginning of next year.

All right. Great. The next question is, when you look at barriers to completing applications, did timing out feature as a barrier?

Sometimes timing out, if it is taking a while for you to gather your thoughts, you do not have all of your information in front of you, it does cause a little bit of frustration because you have to go back in and start the process over. We know that some of the applicant tracking systems can take a little bit of time on your part to be able to fill out every single thing that they have. Timeout features can cause a bit of a struggle.

All right. Interesting. I have one more question. In our PEAT survey we found that 67% of applicants were asked to fill out additional preemployment testing online after their initial application. Are you seeing this trend as well, and what have you heard about the accessibility of these assessments?

A little part coming back from the rest of the webinar. It is a trend. It is a trend because companies really are trying to narrow down the amount of resumes they have to go through. As I mentioned, a lot of applicant tracking systems, they can sometimes start out as being fully accessible, but once you start making changes to it, unfortunately that is no way to do it and they are not fully accessible after that. When they start adding in additional pieces and questions, and tests in the back, you may never see them. Again we have actually heard that some of our jobseekers didn't know there was a whole second part of the website. Some of them were on screen readers and the page to be refreshed, no clue that it was there. The second that happened, they were actually not part of the talent pool. They were not a consideration to find that job. It is a very big thing that needs to be addressed. I do believe that some of the applicant tracking systems are working on it. But again it is a barrier and you need to be careful that if somebody needs an accommodation, to have an accommodation statement upfront to give them the opportunity to actually become part of the talent pool for that position.

Conclusion

All right. That is good to hear that some of our colleagues in the industry are working on that. I think that is all that we have for today. Please join us for other PEAT Talks held on the third Thursday of each month. The next PEAT Talks is slated for Thursday, September 17 and will teacher Jeff Kline, Sarah Bourne and Jay Wyant, a group of accessibility CEOs who will be addressing policy-driven adoption for accessibility. You can find the registration link on PEATworks or by following us and on twitter for PEATworks. I would like to give special thanks to Adam for speaking with us today and for all of you for joining us. Thank you. >>