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What Qualities are Employers Seeking in Disabled Candidates?

4 Qualities Companies Look for in Disabled Workers

Wheelchair

Globally, disability communities and organisations work hard to prove the value of hiring disabled employees. Despite the number of workforce-related challenges and adjustments in the workplace, some companies have gained a number of benefits, such as increased overall employee satisfaction as well as better retention and productivity rates, according to a document published by the United Nations. The same article listed the top reasons why companies need to hire disabled people, such as income opportunities, diversifying working groups, and and creating an adaptive service for clients.

However, even with a list of great reasons to hire disabled people, candidates must have specific qualities that fit the workplace. In this article, we have compiled a list of the top characteristics that HR managers look for in a disabled employee:

Knowing their strengths

Do you ever wonder why HR personnel always ask this question: “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” Employers want someone who knows what you’re good at as well as understand some personal areas of improvements that you need to work on. Weaknesses are not something you lack, but rather things that you need to develop and build. By being able to differentiate the two; it gives you a better understanding of yourself and how you function.

When looking for a job, you are already in a state where you have assessed yourself well and understand the limitations of the work you can do given your condition as well as the skills, knowledge, and characteristics that make you different from other candidates. Both strengths and weaknesses are equally important for self-development and personal growth – something that companies want to witness along your course in their business.

High affinity for technology

Disabled man at desk

As businesses become reliant on technology for day-to-day processes, companies search for individuals with a knowledge and passion for tech solutions and services. Thus, millennials have an advantage compared to other generations as they’ve grown up with technology.

Stacey Villani, a Behavioral Health Services Program Director, wrote in a LinkedIn post that the first wave of disabled millennials are entering the ‘transition age’ as they look for jobs and change the way the world see disability. The author noted that they are very different from other generations of disabled people as technology has given them more opportunity to communicate their choices as well as being able to stay updated with their colleagues even when working remotely.

New technology allows them to stay connected through virtual meetings as well as collaborate remotely with peers in real-time. A market insight post by FXCM which explained why millennials in general have the potential to become great forex traders, stated that it’s because their tech-dependency allows them to “obtain real-time access to information far more quickly than other generations.” This tech savvy attitude and ability to apply themselves in various working environments can help disabled millennials bridge new gaps in the workplace. Villani went on to say: “With new technologies and the forward thinking Millennial Generation, the possibilities are endless.”

Strategic thinking

Once a year, a company goes through a strategic planning process to develop a guidebook on the actions the business intends to take in the upcoming year. Thus, organisations aim to look for people with strategic planning skills to help them in developing and executing business plans effectively.

Strategic planning becomes the A-game of disabled people to be able to survive their daily life. They need to leverage it to create simple and creative alternatives for traditional ways of doing things (i.e. people with impaired vision need to use large text font or text-to-speech) to be able to fully participate in work-based learning experiences and perform their jobs effectively.

Work independently

Strong managers aim to look for people who can work and think independently. Companies need smart people around to brainstorm with. You must be able to share your insights with confidence and show your ability to perform tasks with minimal supervision after training.

This characteristic is vital to disabled people to find a work around so that they can enjoy the same things other people do – whether it’s sports, playing music, or even applying for a specific job. Being aware of your limitations and weaknesses allows you to focus more on your strengths and work independently. Of course, there will be times that you will need help, but showing that you can perform well and independently makes you not only a great employee but also an impressive leader. Angelina Zimmerman wrote in her Inc. article five practical ways to enhance your independent thinking skills, which she said will make more leaders than followers in our society.

While there’s still a lot of disabled people having difficulty finding jobs worldwide, there are some companies who are passionate about hiring disabled workers, as listed by the Huffington Post that look at it from a business perspective rather than an advocacy. By leveraging the aforementioned four top qualities (and considering the specific companies in mind), you are ahead of the other candidates, whether disabled or not.

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