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How Accessible is Applying for a Job? Please Share Your Experience

Filed in Disabilities, Jobs By on December 11, 2014

AccessJob-hunting isn’t what it used to be! Back when I started out in the workforce, looking for a job meant picking up the phone to ask about job openings, and mailing (yes, snail mailing, with a stamp) paper copies of my resume and cover letter. But times have certainly changed.

Today, everything seems to be happening online. Most people find and apply for job openings online. Some companies even conduct pre-employment assessments on the web and remote interviews before they ever meet a job candidate in person—if they do at all.

As a person who is blind, I know how challenging this new reality can be—particularly if websites, forms and pre-employment tests are not accessible or compatible with my screen reader, which reads me the text on my computer screen. And the challenges certainly don’t stop at visual disabilities.

You probably know what I mean if you’re a person with learning or attention difficulties and a job application system times out on you; or a person who is deaf encountering an uncaptioned instructional video; or a veteran with mobility issues navigating the web with a touchpad. Put simply, inaccessible technology prevents many qualified individuals from getting inside the digital employment door. What’s more, many employers are simply unaware of this issue.

To gain insight, shed light and spur action on this important issue, ODEP’s Partnership on Employment and Accessible Technology is conducting a nationwide survey about the accessibility of online job applications and other related systems. If you’re a technology user with a disability, or any type of limitation that affects your use of computers and technology, who has recent experiences with looking for a job online, we want to hear from you. Please take a few minutes to complete PEAT’s online survey by Jan. 15, 2015.

We’re looking for a broad range of users to take the survey, so please also share it with others you know. The results, which will be posted on PEATworks.org, will help focus and support our work with employers and technology providers to improve the accessibility of their online job systems.

And don’t forget that there are other ways to collaborate with PEAT. You can post a comment to the PEAT blog, subscribe to updates, engage on social media, and share your personal technology experiences and recommendations. We know that with your feedback and collaboration, we can ensure job opportunities that are accessible to all people.

We can’t wait to hear from you!

Kathy Martinez is the assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy.

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Comments (23)

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  1. Corina Gonzalez says:

    I understand and have great respect to those people with disabilities that want to work. It is great that they are being given a chance. I would like for employers to give the people that come out of prison or that have criminal records that same opportunity. Maybe crime wouldn’t be as rough. Many people in this day and age have made mistakes in their life time but that doesn’t necessary mean that they can’t learn from those mistakes some of them just need an opportunity to prove themselves. They have it on their applications that it will not hold you from getting a job yet it does that’s messed up. When McDonalds doesn’t hire you for it really a person with a criminal background can’t even get a job flipping burgers Wow….I would like for the Laws to change and make employers give these people a chance to prove themselves they have families to feed. Maybe if they had a job they would get off foodstamps and welfare and be able to provide for their families they way it should be done. I hope someone reads this and understands what I am trying to get across. Thank you for your time.

  2. Ciara says:

    Thanks a lot for bringing this issue into the light. Many of the employers are not aware that their new job system is a hurdle for differently-abled people. Your blog may encourage them to improve the accessibility of their online job systems. I could even see that you took an initiative of surveying employers to understand the issue better.

  3. looking for a job if we dont have the skill is very difficult, in Indonesia a lot of unemployment

  4. Carlo Borja says:

    Times indeed have changed. My application experience was less difficult than the traditional ones. I was hired by an online startup and all it took were a few online audio and video interviews plus some testing.

    It’s amazing how the Internet has totally changed even recruitment. Social media and collaboration tools are readily available.

    Right now, I am working in a company where we all work remotely. We do not have a physical office. We believe in the power of outsourcing and collaboration and that industry seems to be the future.

  5. Pritam Nagrale says:

    There are lot of people are searching jobs in various field , it Has become easy for them to use digital media to help in search the job while there are number of disable people who are having great knowledge and great talent and are just waiting for one chance.
    I think each organisation should have certain percentage of reservation for such disable people who are willing to do work like we do , and we should encourage such people to come forward and live happy and normal life like we do.

  6. joseph says:

    I agree that technology has advanced for normal people like us, but for those who face difficulties are the ones who suffers most by this technological thing. Thanks for bringing up the issue.

  7. Target Lagu says:

    Nice articel for me sir .. thank’s you ..

  8. Target Lagu says:

    Nice articel for me sir .. thank’s you

  9. Mary says:

    I would like for the Laws to change and make employers give these people a chance to prove themselves they have families to feed. Maybe if they had a job they would get off foodstamps and welfare and be able to provide for their families they way it should be done. I hope someone reads this and understands what I am trying to get across.

  10. Adam's says:

    Today, everything seems to be happening online. Most people find and apply for job openings online. Some companies even conduct pre-employment assessments on the web and remote interviews before they ever meet a job candidate in person-if they do at all.

    I agree with this sentence …

  11. Craig says:

    Well now-a-days you don’t actually have to search online much. You can setup alerts to go to your email when certain keywords are found. And then you have apps, so online has progressed even farther than just searching job boards. It’s exciting to see what’s next!

  12. Dani Martin says:

    Undoubtedly, technology has greatly improved the conditions of disabled people and will improve much in the coming years but, at the same time, a society increasingly dependent on technology enlarges the knowledge gap between people with disabilities and which is not, this justifies especially governments support these groups.
    I wish you the best of success.

  13. Vitória says:

    Great post. In Brazil the job offer for those who have good vision is very difficult with the crisis in the country increased. Unfortunately for the blind and the difficulty mutiplicada by two or three times.

  14. Mark Garet says:

    I live in Essex in the uk and I am disabled and have been since birth. I qualified as a teacher in 2013 yet every job I applied for rejected me. The whole application process didn’t allow for any adjustments to the role. Over time this messed up my confidence and I ended up feeling that applying wasn’t worth while. All of the jobs I applied for claimed to be equal opportunity employers. Eventually all the rejection affected me badly and I started to get anxiety, but last year I found someone offering hypnotherapy in Colchester which is very near where I live. He was disabled too and I think having a role model helped I saw a positive example and now I have a job and approach interviews with a different attitude.
    But of course the problems don’t end at interview and as a disabled employee there are challenges everyday

  15. Junaid Raza says:

    Hello Kathy Martinez,
    Glad you are focusing to help disables. But you couldn’t clear me if this survey will be awarding jobs to all capable disables or it is for specific region? I have couple of disabled fellows which are definitely hard working and competent people. Unluckily they are living in Pakistan, where they don’t have as such opportunities as they deserve. May I ask them to join PEAT blog if it is helpful for them?

  16. Marcos says:

    I live in Brazil, and nowadays talking about employment here is something difficult. There is no job for most of the people…
    What I did is , I am still learning how to work on line, via freelancer, which give us some cash. We need to adapt to a new technology.

  17. Bima says:

    Thanks sir. The whole application process didn’t allow for any adjustments to the role. Over time this messed up my confidence and I ended up feeling that applying wasn’t worth while. All of the jobs I applied for claimed to be equal opportunity employers.

  18. Cem Kapancioglu says:

    The world has become virtual now and so is the life has become.!! To survive in today’s world we all need to be aware of the latest technology trends to make your life adapt to these new formats has made life much easier. In my industry “Interior Design” and Architecture the life was much simpler and easy but not productive, ever since the technology has evolved, the life has become a little faster and productive to a great extent. Use of different tools for sketching, drawings and transferring big files and showcasing the work through different mediums has taken life to a different level altogether.

    I wonder what will happen after 5 years from now.!! Too much to do in so little time.

    Thanks for the post.! Really appreciate.

  19. Marcelo says:

    The technology provides for all of us many ways.
    It’s really something incredible and I’m sure does not stop there not.
    Still have a lot to be explored.
    In a few years it will be very difficult to live without knowing the basics of technology. It will be very difficult for people who are not yet familiar , surely this will be the ones that will suffer most .
    I live in Brazil and now the country is experiencing one of today’s biggest financial crises.
    I’m unemployed for almost nine months and I see how the situation is complicated. Freelancer currently do some services , such as writing texts in Blogs , news headlines , but everything in the beginning is hard, but I am dedicating myself enough to power up front reap the rewards.

  20. Miguel says:

    In Spain we find it increasingly difficult to find a job, so it goes without saying, of course, that for a person with a disability it tends to be even worse. Blind people here I’ve met uses JAWS with text-to speech to navigate but obviously it doesn’t work with all sites. With so many Internet technologies available, developing standards to make the web more accesible should be a priority, and software like JAWS should be funded by governments to help them keep up with current technology, as there’s a lot at stake. I hope initiatives like PEAT flourish. Best of luck!

  21. Marissa Cortese says:

    I really enjoyed reading your blog, you have lots of great content. I look forward to reading more posts from you.

  22. patrick miller says:

    I think online applications hurt alot of companies seeking employees. It takes away the initial face to face with great possible prospects. In my business of security training, we train alot of unemployed americans looking for new job opportunities. We prepare them with the skills necessary to work in private security. We have recruiters visit our classes to get a face to face with new potential applicants and this has been very successful helping people gain employment ASAP. Now when we send students to security companies websites to fill out an online application, the students then have to fill out dozens of these online applications for multiple companies that dont go through the local office but to the national office. This can take weeks to get a call back for an interview making the person unemployed feel hopeless that they cant gain employment and then sometimes quit looking. The online thing is great for the company at times but the individual applying is the one that loses at the end. The person unemployed is not looking to wait weeks for a phone call, this is why an initial face to face with a paper application and resume I believe works alot better.

  23. Thony Smith says:

    Technology is taking away job opportunities from human nowadays. Finding a good job is harder and harder, people need to improve theirselves in order to get a job.