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- Ways you can assist a person with sight loss
- Best practice guides
Summary: Find out more about effective ways of advertising your job and practical tips when interviewing an applicant with sight loss.
Job Description / Person Specification
When compiling the job description and person specification for a vacancy, don’t exclude applications from candidates with sight loss.
- Is a requirement to drive essential or are alternative methods of getting around worth considering?
- Concentrate on what needs to be achieved in a job rather than how it is done.
- In addition to standard advertising channels, consider regional options like local radio, organisations working for people with sight loss and your employer network. Encourage as wide a range of applicants as possible to apply by including a statement in the advertisement about your commitment to equality of opportunity.
The application form
- Design an application form that is easy to read and complete, and which offers the applicant an opportunity to declare their ‘individual’ needs.
- Offer to make the application form, job description, and person specification available to prospective applicants in large print, audio, Braille or on computer disk. NCBI’s media conversion service converts print into audio or Braille.
- Allow applicants to submit their application in their preferred format, such as Braille, audio, email or on computer disk, and offer to assist them if they choose to complete your standard application form. Standard practice is for a staff member to read the questions aloud and, if necessary, find a private place and write down the answers on behalf of the person. This works very well for people with sight loss, and all you need to do is show them where to sign.
If your selection process includes testing, make sure it does not inadvertently discriminate against people with sight loss.
- Consult candidates with sight loss or the NCBI employment service in advance so that necessary adjustments can be made.
- A loan of a text enlarger (CCTV) or screen reader on a computer may be provided by NCBI to allow the test to be completed. Ensure that you provide the candidate with the information used in the test in their preferred format such as large print, audio, computer disk or Braille.
- Ensure the test instructions are read to the candidate.
- You may need to allow more time for candidates using magnification or Braille.
Focus on the person’s qualifications to do the job with or without adjustments, not on their sight loss. If you have any doubts about a person’s ability to do the job, simply ask them how they would go about it.
If you know that an applicant has sight loss, you may be a little more concerned about the questions you ask or the language you use during an interview. Relax, and use the following suggestions to guide you.
- Give directions to the workplace. If the candidate is taking public transport, indicate which stop is closest, then give clear directions from the stop to the workplace.
- Ensure the reception of staff know how to welcome and assist a visitor with sight loss. Find out more about meeting and greeting a person with sight loss.
- When you greet an applicant, ask if they need assistance, and what kind of assistance is required. Some people with sight loss may request to be guided to the interview room and will take your arm just above your elbow.
- If your offer of guidance is declined, lead the way at a steady pace and keep talking so that the person can follow your voice. If the person uses a guide dog, refrain from petting or distracting the guide dog.
- When you enter the interview room, it may be helpful to describe the setting to the applicant.
- Address the candidate by name and introduce yourself and other people present, as this will enable the candidate with sight loss to locate individuals within the interview room.
- Remember that a person with sight loss may not be able to see your offer of a handshake.
- Giving candidates a choice of seats ensures that they can make maximum use of the daylight and their useful vision.
- Position yourself so that the light falls on your face. This usually makes it easier for the person to see you.
NCBI Employment Service
Our employment service provides advice to both employers and employees on application procedures, interviews and career advancement, as well as on what adaptations can be made to assist a person with sight loss in the workplace and the grants that are available.
Other services that you may find helpful are:
- Our technology service offers advice on a range of magnification and speech software to make information accessible.
- The NCBI library and media conversion service converts written material and textbooks into Braille and audio formats.
- We can also assist employees with sight loss to live independent lives by enabling them to carry out everyday tasks and move around safely and independently. See our mobility training service.
- Our community resource service aims to provide emotional and practical support to meet the individual needs of people living with sight loss.