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E-Recruitment 2 - Guidelines to Get You Started

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Probably the first step in designing accessible e-recruiting resources is to identify a set of guidelines or standards to follow. Fortunately, we have some well-documented choices at our disposal. In the United States, we have the Section 508 Standards for Web-based intranet and internet information and applications (§ 1194.22), created when the US Congress amended the Rehabilitation Act to require Federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities. These Standards are based upon the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), guidelines used world-wide that have undergone significant testing and revision. These guidelines include a series of checkpoints, rated priority 1, priority 2 and priority 3 for increasing levels of accessibility.

The Section 508 Standards are enforced by the U.S. Government, and apply directly to Federal agencies. While they have been adopted by some state and local governments, and are in use voluntarily by private and public institutions, they only have force of law for agencies of the Federal government. Nevertheless, they provide guidance useful to make e-recruitment sites accessible to many individuals with disabilities.

Each company using e-recruitment sites must make its own determination of which guidelines/standards to use, working from a solid understanding of their potential applicants and site users. However, it is possible to generalize for the majority of businesses.

The Section 508 Standards are a minimum to be applied to web sites, a good choice for web designers with significant design constraints for their e-recruitment sites. However, they do not take into account the full range of accommodation issues that potential job applicants with disabilities may have. Where possible, designers should follow the more exacting WCAG checkpoints for priorities 1 and 2.

Why? The Section 508 Standards are based loosely on WCAG priority 1 checkpoints, so use of these checkpoints will include the majority of the accommodations covered by Section 508. Further, priority 2 checkpoints address the needs of a wider population of users, and satisfying these checkpoints will remove significant barriers to accessing Web documents. Other nations have recognized the effectiveness of addressing these checkpoints. In Canada, the Common Look and Feel standard is based on priority 1 and priority 2 checkpoints. In the United Kingdom, the Guidelines for UK Government Websites, pursuant to the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) are based largely on priority 1 and priority 2 checkpoints of the WCAG.

Refer to the WCAG guidelines and checkpoints for specifics on achieving accessibility. E-recruiting sites that satisfy these checkpoints are entitled to announce their efforts by proclaiming:

  • Conformance Level “A”: all Priority 1 checkpoints are satisfied;
  • Conformance Level “Double-A”: all Priority 1 and 2 checkpoints are satisfied

Stay tuned to Strategies for Employment Success for specific tips, tricks and techniques to improve your site’s e-recruitment accessibility.