Stacey Romero

Senior Manager, Accessibility (Compliance, Learning, and Special Initiatives) at Spectrum

Who is considered visually impaired?

285 million people worldwide are visually impaired of which 39 Million are blind

36% of the blind community is unemployed


  • Sightlessness or loss of vision
  • A person may see some light, or may experience total darkness, but there is no usable vision to speak of

Low Vision

  • Sight may be extremely limited, but there is some usable vision

Top 3 challenges candidates face?

Top challenges candidates face

  1. Navigating the built environment, as signs, text, etc. are not accessible.
  2. They cannot see digital and electronic interfaces (computer screens, mobile devices, ATMs, kiosks, etc.), or read printed materials (books, mail, etc.)
  3. Finding jobs can be a challenge, as misperceptions exist. Many companies don’t know how to accommodate candidates who are visually impaired, or may not be aware of the skills they possess

How to address these challenges

  1. Offer assistance with navigation, but follow their lead. Make your workplace accessible.
  2. Make printed content available online and ensure it is formatted for accessibility.
  3. Challenge perceptions and assumptions, be willing to make the right accommodations

Top 3 challenges hiring managers face?

What challenges do Hiring Managers face?

  1. Limited Knowledge about how people who are blind or low vision can perform basic tasks.
  2. Knowing how to provide the right job accommodation
  3. Knowing how to create accessible documents and communications for employees who are blind/low vision


How can we address these challenges?

  1. People who are blind can perform most jobs that sighted people can.
  2. Within the US, there is a free resource called Job Accommodation Network at that can help you find the right accommodation
  3. It can take a little extra time to learn to format for accessibility, but it is pretty easy. Try Microsoft’s built in accessibility checker in their Office products.


Assistive Technologies


  • Screen reader that converts digital text to synthesized speech
  • JAWS or NVDA are most common (VoiceOver for Mac)
  • Documents, systems/tools still need to be designed with accessibility in mind
  • Refreshable Braille displays are less common, but are sometimes used (especially by deaf-blind users)

Low Vision

  • Built in screen magnification (e.g. Windows Magnifier)
  • Add on magnification software (e.g. Zoom Text or MAGic)
  • Some may pair with a screen reader to enhance productivity

Best Practices during the interview

In Person Interviews

  • Identify yourself, speak directly to the candidate, normal pace and volume
  • Let the candidate know where you are standing or sitting
  • If you are going to shake hands, tell the candidate you are extending your hand
  • Ask the candidate if they need assistance walking to the interview room
  • If the interview involves completing anything online, let them know in advance so that they can use their own device and assistive technology
  • If they have a service animal, remember that it is working – don’t distract it

Virtual Interviews

  • Webcam may be part of your process, but be flexible with candidates who are blind/low vision
  • If interviewer(s) are on camera, be inclusive and provide an image description of yourself
  • If you are sharing slides/content, provide in advance in an accessible format and describe to the candidate in real time
  • These are all best practices for inclusive meetings once you hire the candidate 

How to look for skills and potential

  • Don’t focus too much on the visual elements of a resume or CV – content is more important!
  • Screen readers don’t always catch spelling mistakes. Candidates don’t see how the word is spelled, they hear it out digitally. (i.e. don’t be upset if they type “Stacy” instead of “Stacey”, or “decretive” instead of “decorative”)
  • These are minor errors that can be corrected with feedback, and shouldn’t count against a candidate, especially in the hiring process

How to still help if you don’t hire the candidate

  • Follow up in person (vs. automated email) to let them know the outcome
  • Provide feedback on why they were not selected, and tips on what they can do to prepare for future opportunities – be specific and honest
  • If there are other roles that could be a fit, offer to make a connection for the candidate
  • Consider mentoring them as they continue to search for a role

Onboarding best practices

During Onboarding

  • Be proactive! Ask what accommodations they will need and be ready for them when they start
  • Prep the team to welcome their new peer (consider disability etiquette training if you haven’t already done it – see next slide for tips)
  • Work on making your tools, platforms and documents accessible


Beyond Onboarding: Etiquette Tips with Blind/Low Vision Employees

  • Use empowering language vs. language that evokes pity
  • It’s ok to say “See you later” or “Did you see the latest Marvel movie?”
  • Identify yourself when you greet the person (Don’t play “guess who”)
  • It’s ok to send emoji’s in group chats.
  • It’s also ok to share photos, but include a text description (e.g. black, brown and white Australian Shepherd puppy with an ice cream cone chew toy) 

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