How do I ask an employee about their hearing loss during the recruitment process?

This is one of the questions we are asked the most.

How do I ask an employee about their hearing loss during the recruitment process?

This is the absolute start of the process so encourage applicants to tell you about their needs at various intervals during the recruitment process.

You can do this through your job adverts, by saying that you are a business who welcome receiving applications from people with disabilities.

As we know, this is a two-way process, where applicants are also vetting the businesses with whom they are applying for a role with.

This will go a long way for deaf applicants, who are at this stage looking for businesses who will understand and support their needs. 

Make it clear that you will make reasonable adjustments for the interview process. Don't just use high level language - explain what those reasonable adjustments would look like.

For example, by placing the following on your job ads, website or any other places where roles will be advertised, you are making this far more attractive for a deaf person:

“If you are a Deaf British Sign Language (BSL) user, we will provide a BSL interpreter to enable access to the interview."

This also means that if the deaf person does not use BSL as their first or preferred language, they are more likely to tell you that they have a hearing loss because of the fact that you have openly asked that question.

There is a Government scheme called Access to Work (AtW) that will fund communication support for a deaf person to access the interview process and on an ongoing basis.

Deaf people communicate differently and there is a range of Communication Professionals to suit these individual needs.

We would recommend that you first find out the applicant’s preferred method of communication.

If a deaf person uses British Sign Language as their first or preferred language, you would require a British Sign Language Interpreter.

If they prefer lipreading – a Lipspeaker or potentially an Electronic Notetaker or Speech to Text Reporter professional would be required.

Never assume – always ask the deaf person which would be the most suitable option for them.

Read more about Access to Work here

Click here to read one of our articles that talks about How to Interview a deaf person

The more open and clear you are with your language use, the more likely you will be to receive applications from deaf people – so take a look at the information that you share throughout the process.

Any questions - as always we are here to help!

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