Buying Accessible eRecruiting Products

One of the most crucial ways to ensure that your eRecruiting tools are accessible is to ensure that you buy accessible technology in the first place. And if you're like most companies, you already have some of these purchases under your belt. Research estimates that more than 70% of companies have implemented or plan to implement Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)-based HR technologies within the next two years. Such purchases typically include:  

  • Recruitment portals and online job banks
  • Corporate websites or eRecruiting micro-sites
  • Online job application systems or plug ins
  • Pre-employment screening tools
  • Digital interview technology
  • Applicant tracking systems

The bottom line when purchasing or creating these, or any, technology tools is to build accessibility into your products in the early stages of IT development. It pays to do so, since retro-fitting an existing eRecruiting application after the fact can be costlier.

But how, exactly, can you make that all happen? The answer typically lies in awareness-building around accessibility, procurement best practices, and product testing and validation.

Just consider the fact that there are varying levels of accessibility knowledge within organizations. So if the people writing your eRecruiting requests for proposals (RFPs) don't understand accessibility best practices, then detailed accessibility criteria are likely to be missing from your product solicitations. Of course, in cases where accessibility is a stated requirement, the right people in your company might not understand what that means. In other words, there may not be knowledge or mechanisms in place to evaluate whether or not vendor claims about accessibility are valid.  

The bottom line when purchasing or creating these, or any, technology tools is to build accessibility into your products in the early stages of IT development. It pays to do so, since retro-fitting an existing eRecruiting application after the fact can be costlier.

Of course, some off-the-shelf technology products come with built-in accessibility features that never get activated, simply due to lack of awareness by the organization purchasing it. Some of these features require certain administrative settings or add-ons, which are not always fully documented in an administrative manual. So the right people in your IT department need to know the right questions to ask vendors.

And what about those times when you are truly at the mercy of other technology providers? This can often be the case when you subscribe to job banks and other features that are offered as Software as a Service (SaaS)—but, thankfully, there are some effective practices to help ensure accessibility in those cases, too. We discuss them below, and in the featured resources on this page.

With all of this in mind, TalentWorks encourages you to build accessibility into your baseline procurement processes and to validate the accessibility of your product choices prior to implementing them.

Exemplary practices include the following:

  • Provide technology accessibility awareness and training within your agency, and make knowledge of accessibility part of the job description of numerous personnel, including procurement officers, proposal writers, hiring managers, and IT support staff.
  • Provide detailed, specific accessibility mandates in your technology RFPs (including those related to eRecruiting) and request detailed responses from vendors.
  • Factor extensive accessibility acceptance testing into your RFPs, budget for it accordingly, and perform extensive testing before signing off on and deploying products received.
  • Evaluate vendor proposals based on their responses to accessibility requirements.
  • Engage product testers with disabilities to perform accessibility testing of new technology procurements, and maintain a database of these expert users.
  • Ensure that those with accessibility expertise/training participate in the development of RFPs and solicitations.
  • Inquire about accessibility when you subscribe to SaaS offerings, such as other providers' online job banks. Work with the provider to optimize it, and post a contact link with your job posts so that users can troubleshoot their accessibility challenges directly with the vendor.   

For a more in-depth look at the issues above, please see the featured resources presented on this page.

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Experiences in Employment Accessibility