Finding Gold: Hiring the Best and the Brightest

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00:00:36,516 --> 00:00:42,206 [ Music ]
[Narrator] Maybe you've always been just a little nervous around someone using a wheelchair, or a hearing aid, or a white cane. Maybe you're afraid you'll say the wrong thing or do the wrong thing. Do you offer help or not? What if you can't understand what they're saying? We need to move beyond that, because corporate success depends on attracting and hiring the best minds out there, and that means focusing on ability, even when we have to look beyond our first perception.
A man walks with his guide dog, and a title appears, "Finding Gold: Hiring the Best and the Brightest". Now, in an office, people use computers and wear headsets.
[Narrator] A successful business today almost always requires technology, and in that world, physical ability is seldom a limitation. It's intellect that counts, and there's a lot of undiscovered talent available. Some of that talent includes people with disabilities.
[Dan] From the human resources standpoint, and from the company's standpoint, to AirTouch it just makes sense that we look at all the potential sources of candidates out there.
[Narrator] That's especially true for businesses making heavy use of information technology, which is almost any business today. Worldwide, the demand for people with technology skills continues to grow dramatically, resulting in intense competition among employers to hire employees with the best high tech abilities.
[Dan] I think recruiting people in the technical areas is very difficult. There is a lot of competition; when you find a candidate that matches what you're looking for, you have to move very quickly, because they're probably going to be getting offers from other companies that are looking for the same thing.
[Narrator] One way to gain an edge in recruiting new employees is to identify talented interns. Campus career development programs can help match students with your company's particular needs. That can include people with physical, sensory, or learning disabilities.
[Debbie] At Weyerhaeuser, we have intern programs for the purpose of developing a pool of individuals that we might ultimately want to hire.
[Phone rings]
[Randy] ITS Help, this is Randy.
[Narrator] Randy Hammer was one of those Weyerhaeuser interns,
A man answers a phone.
working on the computer help desk.
[Randy] With Weyerhaeuser, they have some very specific pieces of software that they're using, and since I'm working on the help desk, these people are calling in with questions on that software. I have to know how to use it, how to lead them through things.
[Narrator] Being blind didn't interfere with Randy's job performance. For his internship, he brought in his own adaptive technology and figured out how to integrate it with Weyerhaeuser's systems.
[Randy] You're always going to have to make some kind of accommodation. It doesn't matter if you're disabled or not. You're always going to have to make a little change so that you can fit in. So that you can use the things that they're using and so you can work with their people.
[Co-worker] Hey, Randy.
[Narrator] Randy later secured full time employment at Weyerhaeuser. His internship gave the company a chance to test his skills. It was also an opportunity to explore possible accommodations, a process that's usually a lot easier, and less expensive, than people expect.
[Dan] Our experience has been, making accommodations for a student or for an employee are much less than what we ever anticipate they're going to be in a situation. And typically, the accommodations are easy for us to make, and we find that people that we've hired have been great employees.
[Narrator] Employers can ask schools for help with intern accommodations, such as adaptive computer technology. And many of the adaptations for accessibility make life easier for everyone in the office.
[Bruce] Those accommodations that are made to help open doors, put ramps in, have elevators available, those kinds of things are accommodations that everybody uses every day.
[Narrator] And who knows when any employee may need those accommodations? Accidents can happen to anyone.
[Tires skidding, car crashing, sirens]
[Bruce] Most employers view the people that they have as the most important asset they have. At any time, any one of those key performers that's critical to the success of that business could be in a position where suddenly they can't walk from the car into the office anymore, because they've got a cast on their leg or they're walking on crutches.
[Narrator] Employers want to hire a person who best matches the knowledge, skills, and attitude for a particular job. In this competitive environment, it's essential that they explore every opportunity to attract and hold new talent.
[Bruce] What does it cost to run an ad; what does it cost to go out and hire a recruiter; as opposed to turning to an intern program, where you have clear knowledge of the kind of training that they've received; the knowledge of what kind of accommodations you might have to make in your workplace to be able to have them be a part of your team; an opportunity to evaluate that person under no obligation? Any employer that does not look to interns to fill, especially some of those entry level positions that they have, is missing a tremendous opportunity.
[Narrator] So how do you take advantage of those opportunities?