May 2, 2022

In early May, Deaf Awareness Week is celebrated across the UK with the aim of increasing knowledge of deaf culture, communication methods such as sign language, and sharing stories from deaf people.

This year’s Deaf Awareness Week will take place from May 2-8, 2022 and will be used to celebrate deafness.

Five million adults in the UK are living with hearing loss or deafness and, while some are able to work, others continue to face barriers when applying for jobs.

Make no mistake: a survey carried out by the Royal Association for Deaf People revealed that almost three-quarters (74 per cent) of respondents felt their employment opportunities were restricted due to their hearing loss.

But just because it was, doesn’t mean it should be. There are plenty of steps that recruiters and TA folk alike can take to ensure deaf applicants feel encouraged to apply. 

As a global technology company and diversity and inclusion provider, whose core product is Job Ad optimisation, we're sharing our three top tips ahead of Deaf Awareness Week. Without further ado:

1. Use inclusive language                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Be clear that your organisation is inclusive and collaborative through the language you use in your Job Ad. Under no circumstance should you use the phrase “hearing impaired”. Rather the accepted terminology is to say ‘deaf’ and ‘hard of hearing.’ 

Secondly, play up the importance of matching people with the right skills for the job and detail how applicants can request the job information in an accessible format.

And always include an equal opportunities statement in your Job Ad to let potential applicants know that you champion equality and diversity in the workplace – and will support those with disabilities to fulfil their potential. 

Here at Optimal HQ, we suggest signing up for the Disability Confident Scheme and displaying the badge in your Job Ads to demonstrate commitment.

2. Think about where you are advertising

If you want to make people with hearing loss feel welcome to apply for your vacancy/vacancies, think long and hard about where you post your Job Ads. 

Google and the traditional Job Ad boards are all very well and good but why not target disability recruitment sites where deaf or hard of hearing candidates looking for work are more likely to see them? Sites to try include DeafJobWizard, Vercida, Deaf Unity and Includability.

3. Simplify your recruitment process

It is incumbent upon inclusive employers to be flexible and make changes, if needed, to traditional recruitment processes so as to accommodate deaf or hard of hearing applicants.

Case in point? Candidates whose first language is BSL may be deterred by lengthy written application forms. To this end, think about using BSL interpretation tools so that deaf and hard of hearing deaf candidates can record their responses. 

And be prepared, as per the Equality Act 2010, to provide reasonable adjustments for deaf candidates, ensuring they are not disadvantaged during employment.

Need help writing Job Ads that resonate with the deaf community? We’re here to help. It takes an intentional focus to reduce bias in the recruitment process and ensure you’re being as inclusive as possible and accurately representing your organisation.

If you’re ready to make a real and lasting DE&I impact and write and post Job Ads that reduce discrimination against deaf and hard of hearing applicants, then you need to be booking a call with Optimal today. We specialise in mitigating all kinds of bias, in addition to optimising your Job Ads for SEO.

It’s time to embrace diversity and change and stop ignoring it. Working and collaborating with Get-Optimal is about taking control, not giving up control. Make the change, and make the change today.

Daniel Fellows