Forms will typically have the following sections for you to fill in:
- Personal details
- Examination results
- Employment and experience
- Questions to answer
- Referees – usually two referees are required. One is likely to be your academic tutor; the other might be a person you did relevant work experience with, or who knows you well personally.
- Some form of equal opportunities monitoring – this often includes questions on age, gender, ethnicity, disability, etc. This information is confidential and is to make sure employers are attracting applications from a diverse pool of candidates. For instance, if there are no applicants with disabilities, it could indicate the presence of unconscious bias in how the role or brand is being marketed.
A note on 'disclosing' a disability and/or long-term health condition
Legally, you don't have to "disclose" (inform the employer beforehand) a disability on an application form (but failure to do so on a medical form, once you have accepted the job, could be considered a breach of contract). It's very important to remember that employers are keen to ensure that all applicants are given an equal and fair opportunity to demonstrate their abilities. As such, the disclosure of a disability could give you access to reasonable adjustments for the application and interview process.
Reasonable adjustments can include (but are not limited to), extra time to complete online tests, extra-time between interviews, or support in getting to the interview. Employers are also able to make adjustments tailored to your specific needs – if you do disclose a disability, the firm will likely consult with you giving you the chance to discuss the adjustments that you require. If you think you may require adjustments to complete these, make sure that you understand all aspects (including timelines) of the application and recruitment process before submitting your application.
N.B Some employers require you to complete online exercises or tests shortly after you have submitted your application (typically within 5-7 days). Ideally, contact employers either before submitting your application or immediately afterwards to let them know if you need any adjustments. This will ensure that you are offered the requisite adjustments for the online tests/exercises, as once completed, most will not retroactively take your disability into consideration when assessing your performance.
See our disability and careers pages for more information on disclosing a disability in the recruitment process. It is also worth reading employer websites to find out more about their equality and diversity policies and practices. This could help you to better understand how they support employees with disabilities and/or long-term health conditions.
If you are unsure about how best to communicate with an employer about your disability, you can speak to one of our Careers Advisers, who can advise you on the most effective way to present your individual circumstances.