Comments such as these, “our company is starting to do this…” or “it is one of our objectives to… “ were made at the start of the third Candidly Speaking workshop which demonstrates a movement towards the positive inclusion of people with disabilities within the workforce! AIM hosted “Candidly Speaking: ‘A Second Glance’ at the Art of Interviewing” on Wednesday October 3rd, 2012 which focused on the elements of how to interview individuals with disabilities.

Approximately 60 employers filled the Conway Room at the Shangri-La Hotel to gain insightful knowledge about the art of interviewing candidates with disabilities. The workshop opened up with two different scenes acted out by a performance organization called Realwheels. Realwheels is a professional theatre company that creates and produces world-class art that deepens the audience’s understanding of the disability experience. There were two actors – one playing the role of a potential employee, the other playing an employer. Together, they acted out two scenes. The first scene demonstrated two people trying their best to remain positive through the interview despite having an elephant in the room: the potential candidate having a disability. In the second scene the two people are quite comfortable with each other and talking openly about disability.

These scenes displayed the need for some clarity of the interview process between an employer and employee. Earl Phillips who is a lawyer with McCarthy Tétrault followed up with a presentation about the seven guiding principles when it comes to interviewing candidates with disabilities through the demonstration of some legal cases he has been involved with. He stated that interviews begin with the job postings and the need to use appropriate wording to attract candidates. The main message that he delivered was that employers can ask general questions related to ability to meet job requirements and about the accommodations that may be required. It is necessary for both the employer and employee to have open communication about job accommodation and requirements to ensure a successful workforce inclusion.

All of the workshop participants left with several important points to bring back to their workplace, in particular their recruitment process. The Conway Room at the Shangri-La Hotel was definitely filled with people’s energy and new ideas to share, which prompted our wheels to turn for the planning of our next workshop to employers!