Canadian Association for Supported Employment


Please Note

Employers: before implementing any policies, please read our Introduction and Key Considerations.

Inclusive Interviewing: What does it mean?

  • Inclusive interviewing involves designing an interview process that recognizes potential barriers and bias, and focuses on removing or mitigating the impact of these during the interview and selection process. Inclusive interviewing can include simple strategies, such as stating that accessibility accommodations are available when inviting applicants to the interview, ensuring that interviews are held in an accessible space, and carefully choosing a co-interviewer with a different cross-cultural understanding or perspective in order to reduce individual bias.

  • It also involves ensuring that all accommodation requests from applicants are treated confidentially and respectfully.

  • Inclusive interviews focus on questions related to “how” the applicant will apply their skills to perform job tasks (as opposed to asking whether they “can” do the job).

Why is it important?

  • Committing to inclusive hiring practices increases your ability to tap into a substantial pool of talented candidates, ultimately creating a diverse workforce that is better able to innovate, create and perform.

  • Knowing how to incorporate inclusive practices in interviewing can create opportunities to ensure equitable access for new hires and to help alleviate awkward or uncomfortable situations.

  • Failure to use inclusive methods (or the active use of discriminatory methods) may lead to legal liability as a result of failure to accommodate or a failure to meet accessibility legislation. 

Sample Interviewing Policy

The following policy sample should be added to your larger hiring and recruitment policy. This larger policy should address the rules your organization will follow with respect to hiring and recruitment, the purpose of the policy, who the policy applies to in your workforce, who will be responsible for what obligations under the policy, and the procedures that must be followed under the policy in administering the hiring and recruitment process (including how applications will be assessed).

When contacted for an interview, job applicants will be advised that [Name of Organization] has an accommodation policy and asked whether the applicant requires accommodation to participate in the hiring process.

[Name and/or Position A] will evaluate the job applicant’s request for accommodation and may request more information from the applicant to facilitate the accommodation. If a request for accommodation is denied, the reasons why will be clearly communicated to the job applicant.

Putting It into Practice

  • Before scheduling interviews, review the screening process to ensure it’s not working against the inclusive hiring process. For example, avoid making assumptions about a candidate based on their information, such as addresses, pronouns, name, title, educational institution or resume format. If screening interviews by telephone, be conscious that, for some candidates experiencing disability, the playing field might not be level and determine appropriate alternative methods of communication, if appropriate.

  • When scheduling interviews, ask if the applicant has any accommodation needs. Changes may need to be made to the interview location, format, material, etc. and the person may wish to bring a support person with them. Be prepared to be flexible.

  • Discuss with front office staff how to interact appropriately with persons who experience disability and service animals (if applicable) before the interview takes place.

  • Focus on consistency. The interview process should be consistent for all applicants, regardless of gender, race or disability. Ask all candidates the same set of questions and use their answers in a scoring system rating to see whose abilities most closely match the job description.

  • In order to test skills versus relying on questions, consider a working interview that allows a manager to test the specific skills needed for the role.


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