Delivering recruitment adjustments for candidates

It is vital for the workforce in the Scottish Government to represent the diversity of the Scottish population, attracting a wide and range of people with a mix of skills and perspectives. To achieve this aim, we support candidates who will benefit from requesting adjustments to our standard recruitment processes.

Adjustments are tailored to individual needs and can take many forms, from the use of assistive software like screen-readers, to using role-play scenarios instead of a written exercise, or receiving questions in advance of an interview. A small adjustment can make a huge difference to candidates, and we want to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to perform at their best.

Our resourcing policies support both candidates and hiring managers to incorporate adjustments at every stage of the recruitment journey.

To find out more about the impact of adjustments on individuals, read our staff blog on this topic and find out how adjustments benefitted Resourcing Policy Lead, Muireann…

How adjustments made a difference for me

A blog by Muireann, Resourcing Policy Lead – Scottish Government, People Directorate

I’d been interested in joining the civil service since my school years, as I admired the thought of ordinary people working together to deliver programmes for the public good on such a large scale.

With this in mind, I applied for the UK Civil Service Fast Stream Graduate Programme in 2019 and was overjoyed to be offered a place, as I knew that competition for places was very high. Although happy, I worried about whether or not I would fit in, stressed over moving countries and tried to prepare for being thrust into a new environment.

Within a short time of starting my new role I began to feel overwhelmed – struggling with the fast pace and loss of a support network from home. Problems that I had always struggled with escalated to a point I could no longer ignore them. I began the process of seeking support in late 2019 and by March 2020 I was diagnosed with ADHD.

This diagnosis was life-changing for me, as it allowed me to better advocate for myself and access the right support I needed both personally and professionally. I was able to give myself more grace when I struggled with aspects of my condition. Habits of mine like fidgeting during meetings or accidentally interrupting others were now viewed with much more understanding by people around me. 

With civil service support, I was able to implement workplace adjustments that accommodated for my ADHD and allowed me to deliver my best and fulfil my potential at work.

I got to know more disabled Fast Streamers and civil servants just like me, that relied on adjustments to deliver their work and maintain their health and well-being.

I realised how essential adjustments are for individuals who need them, not only do they make a huge difference to their performance and satisfaction in the role, but they need to be considered from the outset, including recruitment.

In the summer of 2022, after 3 years on the Fast Stream Programme, I found a new role advertised as a Resourcing Policy Lead at the Scottish Government. The idea of having a more people-focused role that valued diversity and inclusion really appealed to me, but I was nervous to apply. The recruitment process can be very daunting for neurodivergent people like me, and I knew that I would need additional support to perform my best.

Featured quote: "I realised how essential adjustments are for individuals who need them"

One of the first steps I took was to reach out to the hiring manager to enquire about the role in more detail and ask about the potential for adjustments. From our initial conversation, I could tell how much consideration was given to disabled candidates by the team. We discussed some of the barriers I faced to recruitment and potential adjustments that could be made such as additional time during assessment and interview. I was fully supported and felt confident that adjustments would be in place for me during the recruitment process and afterwards.

This positive experience really motivated me to make the jump to resourcing, submit my application and ultimately to accept the role.

I now work in improving the diversity and inclusion of resourcing in Scottish Government, which is really fulfilling to participate in. Working in Resourcing means that we get instant feedback on changes, and we can see the impact straight away, instead of waiting months or years with traditional policy implementation.

Since I’ve joined in June, the team has developed new guidance on requesting adjustments for both candidates and hiring managers. We hope that this will empower the candidates that need support during the recruitment process to request them and upskill hiring managers to deliver the best experience for all candidates. Having experienced first-hand how important adjustments are to candidates applying for and accepting a new role, it feels really rewarding to drive change in this area.

I’m proud to be part of a team focused on delivering improvements, and whilst there is more for us to do, I believe that a more diverse civil service is a more compassionate, empathetic and understanding organisation that also delivers better policy.

I hope that anyone reading this feels empowered to put themselves forward for opportunities in Scottish Government. I’m very glad that I did. 

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