Accessibility is vital to the success of every business and website. Not only can you be held liable for non-compliance with industry standards, but by neglecting any sector of the market, you’re actively excluding potential, motivated customers from reaching you.
The most effective approach to incorporating accessibility is to make it a cornerstone of every project from the outset. To that end, you have to ensure that you are finding and recruiting candidates who understand the importance of incorporating accessibility at the earliest stages of ideation and development.
So what interview questions can you ask to ensure that potential specialists, developers, and UX designers value accessibility as a critical component of their work?
Sure, most people should know that the answer is “Everyone,” but some may not, and those that do may reveal more about themselves in their answer anyways. First, it will probably be obvious to you who is just responding without much thought; follow up by asking for examples as to how accessibility can benefit the system as a whole.
Secondly, be on the lookout for enthusiasm. For example, as we’ll discuss, writing code to stay in compliance can be time consuming and stressful. Someone who is truly enthusiastic about inclusivity will be better prepared later, when they need to scour the code to determine why a screen reader isn’t reading the alt-text correctly.
This is another one that can serve a less obvious purpose. At face value, you’re looking for a candidate who understands that inclusive, or universal, design is about making products and services usable to the greatest number of people as possible, right out of the box.
However, this is a great opportunity to discover which of your candidates can communicate their vision clearly and thoroughly. You can be sure that some people will provide a definition and a smile, and think they’re done with the question.
Some, however, will provide examples to help you better understand how they think. This complements the next question well, and so provides you with additional information about the person you’re interviewing.
Communication is one of the most common barriers to effective collaboration. When you’re recruiting for your team, you have to be confident that your colleagues and employees can exhibit patience and empathy in their interactions.
This question allows you an additional opportunity (if you include the previous question) to see how the candidate clarifies complex information for others. Some accessibility behavior, for example, is only visible to assistive technologies; how would the candidate communicate accessibility implementation instructions for these “invisible” target behaviors?
This one is probably obvious, but if you want to hire someone with experience, then you have to confirm their experience. Regardless of the position they’re applying for, they should be able to provide relevant examples of how they’ve made accessibility a focal point in their previous roles.
This one may sound silly, but it’s a pretty useful question. First, to synergize with the previous questions, it provides you yet another opportunity to confirm that the candidate is comfortable with the discussion, and not simply providing rote answers that they think you’d appreciate.
Secondly, it’s another opportunity to subtly probe for the candidate’s experience. Anyone who has experience implementing Web Content Accessibility Guidelines should be able to list the ones that they’ve found difficult to execute in the past, and what they’ve learned from it.
Finally, it serves as a context-specific equivalent to the popular interview question “describe for me a time that you overcame a difficulty to succeed on a past project.” This allows you to determine how they solve problems while, at the same time, providing you with more information about their experience with, and perspective on, accessibility in design.
Finding the right candidates is crucial, but arming them with the best tools is also important. With Site Compliance, your team can have access to monthly compliance reports to ensure that they’re made aware of any conflicts as soon as possible. If you want to know more about how your team can stay current on accessibility compliance, reach out to our team today.