Ensuring accessibility accommodations in your hiring software

June 28th, 2023
The HireVue Team

Interviewing shouldn’t be a random experience that changes on a whim—it should be a structured experience that provides the same experience for everyone. 

For some candidates, lack of accessibility accommodations can make an interview process even more stressful, unfairly difficult, or even impossible to complete.

To discuss the importance of accessibility in your hiring software, we sat down with HireVue’s Jake Allen, Product Manager, to share why accessibility should be a top priority and one executed with great care.

The importance of accessibility

“The job interview is a life-changing event, and it needs to be fair, accessible, and consistent for everyone who does one,” says Allen.

Allen reminds us that the interview process has changed throughout the years—and the days of different, biased, or leading questions should be over. While structured interviewing and assessments are great ways to ensure consistent experiences and evaluations, it’s also important to remember that some may require more time to ensure they are evaluated fairly compared to their peers.

“HireVue has believed in fair and consistent hiring practices, and the industry is coming around, but we also need to remember that some candidates may require extra accommodations as well.”

HireVue does a lot when it comes to accessibility, conforming to WCAG 2.1AA (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) criteria.

“We follow the cumulative effort of WCAG 2.1AA requirements which is a worldwide focus on applications, technologies, and accommodations we need to make to ensure people can use our website.”

Accommodations for candidates and recruiters

HireVue interacts with state-of-the-art screen readers to offer dynamic ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications), technology that reads a website page to people who are blind.

“Our technology interacts with dynamic ARIA content such as labels, color contrast, and even keyboard shortcuts. Essentially, our technology reads a page to a candidate, so they can understand it in a way that isn’t confusing.” 

But HireVue’s technology is more than just generic words on a screen. 

“We offer text–based image explanations. If there is an image of a man and woman laughing at a table, our technology says just that as opposed to just ‘image here.’” 

Accessibility isn’t just about making accommodations for candidates—recruiters require it as well. While some employment laws do require companies to ensure they have proper accommodations for everyone to be able to do their jobs, HireVue does provide technology on the user-side of the platform as well.

“Our tools are helpful to recruiters as well, so they’re able to use screen readers to do everything from building a template to navigating a page. We make our website functional and accessible.”

Extending interview times

Hiring technology should also offer the option to take extra time. For neurodiverse candidates or those with dexterity limitations, shorter time requirements can keep them from performing to their full potential during an interview—for example, when the question requires a long essay in response. 

“At HireVue, every interview allows someone to request time no matter what the company’s hiring teams have set as requirements.”

Avoiding assumptions

Unfortunately, so many can take for granted the interview process or even how a website works, but it’s important to remember that some truly rely on those accessibility modifications. Allen says there are two common mistakes companies make that hurt those with accessibility needs.

  1. Website logistics: Many of us can take for granted the physical way a website is built. We understand there is a header, text, where to scroll, and how to navigate. But it’s important that your technology can read to candidates that there is a header, explains how to tab through, and understands user management, so candidates aren’t jumping all around a page trying to navigate.

    “Technology should allow all candidates to instantly consume information on a screen and understand it.”
  2. Confirmation windows: For many, confirmation windows are annoyances, but for others it’s a confirmation that they’re using the website correctly.

    “We call these destructive actions, when you’re leaving a page that won’t be in the same state as when you left it. Confirmation windows are important tools to assist candidates with accommodation needs to ensure they understand every action they are taking.”

Vendor red flags to look for

Finding hiring technology that fits your needs and is truly accessible can feel overwhelming, but Allen says there are a couple red flags to look for when navigating the search.

“If they published their own VPAT (Voluntary Product Accessibility Template), without third-party involvement, that’s a red flag. Companies auditing their own security features is disingenuous.”

He also mentions the way companies talk about accessibility could raise a red flag.

“Talking about accessibility just to talk about it is an insincere way to start a conversation. A true commitment to accessible hiring is ongoing, not a checklist.”

While HireVue is on the high-end of supporting most components, we are committed to proper third-party audits that show us when we need to make changes.

“It’s crucial that everyone in this space recognizes how important a relationship with third-party auditors is—not just for their expertise but because members of the accessibility community actually test your product. Developers cannot experience a website like a blind person, so ensuring your technology is audited from someone in that community is a critical piece to ensuring better accessibility in your product.”

Ready to learn more about accessibility accommodations and tackle challenges in your hiring process? Request a demo.