The COVID-19 crisis continues to underscore the best and worst of humanity. While it would be difficult to assert a silver lining in a pandemic, one thing that’s come to light throughout this experience is humankind’s overall reliance on humankind. People need other people. It’s as simple as that. 

Recruiters were starting to catch on to this fact in the months and years before the virus, as teams worked diligently to improve diversity and inclusion (D&I) in the hiring process. Part of that conversation included the matter of accommodations and what that meant for candidates. Given present circumstances and in the long-term, we need to continue advocating for accommodations — something that speaks directly to our humanity and our ability to offer our fellow humans a chance for equal access. Here’s what that might look like: 

Skip the ‘New Normal’ 

When it comes to making accommodations for others, the notion of “normal“ is an issue. It assumes that everyone is like everyone else, and will thrive under the same conditions. This is decidedly untrue. Instead of trying to homogenize your approach, reflect on what it is you’re trying to accomplish. What’s the thinking behind that two-hour online assessment you make every candidate take? Are there ways to change that experience to help accommodate the people who exist outside the center? Consider what you need from the recruiting process, as well as the experience that you offer your candidates

And yes, recruiting is going to change as the world recovers and reopens. But the fundamentals are likely to remain the same — even in a digital hiring environment — and possibly even more so. That’s the thing: It doesn’t really matter what market you’re in. Making accommodations echoes the golden rule of treating others the way you would want to be treated. 

Ask yourself: What can you do to improve your current approach? What alternatives can you provide for job seekers who might not test well, but are otherwise strong candidates? Bake options into your strategy so you’re ready to accommodate as needed, instead of alienating candidates upfront.  

Demystify the conversation 

At the same time, there’s a growing need to demystify the accommodations conversation. We need to show candidates that it’s OK to speak up and tell recruiters what they need by making the first move. You can try a straightforward strategy or approach it in a more nuanced fashion; either way, the point is that you need to ask your candidates what they need from you. Everyone appreciates being asked about themselves, even if they don’t have any specific accommodations. And those who do will remember having the opportunity to make theirs known, hopefully as part of a broader experience that felt both positive and respectful. 

Make accommodation part of your organization’s internal dialogue, too, by connecting with key stakeholders (like hiring managers, executives and legal) at every step of the way. Ensuring compliance goes beyond a single assessment, and should also be considered when it comes to your careers site, interview structure, onboarding and so on. Finally, understand that this should be an ongoing conversation, both within the organization and with your candidates. It’s up to all of us, collectively, to demonstrate empathy for one another — during the hiring process and beyond. 

Above all else: Be human

Remain open-minded in thinking about navigating accommodations. There will certainly be something — and someone — that you don’t account for in your process, and that’s OK. When this happens, it’s what you do next that will speak for your organization’s commitment to accommodating. While it’s a process that will likely take some time, your goal should be to make recruiting easier for everyone. Strive to make it possible for more candidates to make it to the job offer, rather than put up false barriers. 

Recruiting is about connecting candidates with opportunities. And opportunities are sets of circumstances that make it possible to do something. Take those meanings to heart, and start running toward accommodations. Instead of assuming, put care into creating a process that welcomes more, if not all, candidates from the get-go. If you need to adjust along the way, then do it. This is the time to factor in micro-experiences and really personalize your interactions with candidates. 

With any luck, there will come a day when the unprecedented global happenings we’re experiencing in this moment turn into ancient history, but the memories are likely to stick around for years to come. That in mind, it’s up to recruiters to stay focused on the work they’ve been doing in D&I and building accommodations into the hiring process, to show candidates courtesy and compassion. 


William Tincup is the President of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. Find him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.

The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Indeed.