Dyslexia is a disability that affects around 10% of the population with around 4% affected severely. There are a number of issues to take into consideration when applying for jobs and understanding of these issues along with knowledge of the help and support available can help make both job applications and day to day performance of a role much easier for those who have dyslexia.
Reasonable adjustments must be implemented from first advertisement of a position, throughout the recruitment process and during working life up to and including departure or dismissal procedures. Examples of reasonable adjustments for people with Dyslexia include:
- Providing specialist or required training
- Providing modified equipment and access to computer software for proofreading and planning of work
- Making instructions and manuals more accessible (e.g. different colour or size backgrounds or fonts, or coloured transparency sheets, larger font, audio tapes, etc)
- Allocating some of a disabled employee’s work to someone else (e.g. minute taking and proofreading)
- Extra time for written assessments/work and planning of work
- Extra time for considering information and reporting
- Provision of written materials in advance
- It is reasonable to expect an employer to provide any tests in an appropriate format provided this has been requested in advance of the event and not just on the day itself
See our reasonable adjustments page for more information and advice on this topic.
The recruitment process
Throughout the recruitment process there are a number of things to consider in order to ensure you give yourself the best chance of performing to the best of your ability.
At the initial application stage when you're writing your CV, cover letter, or application form you should consider asking your university disability office whether any assistive technologies or other means of support are available to you to aid you throughout your application.
Assistive technologies available may include voice-to-text technology such as Dragon Naturally Speaking which will allow you to dictate your ideas to a computer or if the application material is available online you can use a software package such as Jaws which will convert text to speech. If it is not available online ask a friend or family member to read it aloud to you and ensure you are fully understanding what the employer is asking for.
You should also ask someone to proof read your CV or covering letter to check spelling and grammar in addition to a computer spell checker as a spell checker is not completely fool proof. Also ask them to check a word copy draft of any application form you are completing before you submit it whether you are doing so online or in hand written format.
If you have disclosed your dyslexia the employer is likely to be interested in how your dyslexia will affect you in the workplace and your ability to perform the requirements of your role.
When discussing these issues with the employer present them in a positive, rather than negative, light. Be informative and objective offering solutions to any perceived difficulties. Remember you are being interviewed because on paper you meet their criteria and have demonstrated the skills and abilities they require. It is important for both you and the employer to focus on your ability rather than your disability.
Give examples of how you have used your coping strategies to help you achieve things in the past and even point out and demonstrate how you have developed strong, diverse skills, such as innovative and lateral thinking, creativity and problem solving skills, as a result of your dyslexia. If you are struggling to formulate answers or identify skills contact LSE Careers to discuss with our dedicated disability careers consultant.
Some recruitment processes will involve certain selection tools to assess your ability to do the job. These may include psychometric or aptitude tests, a group exercise or case study. If the employer does not tell you in advance that these will be part of the process you should contact them to find out.
Whilst the employer is required to make reasonable adjustments to aid you throughout the process it is not reasonable to tell them on the day so you should advise them in advance if you need adjustments made. Adjustments available may include extra time to complete the tests or alternative format material.
In some cases you may be exempt from these tests as it will be considered a reasonable adjustment that they test the abilities they are measuring by alternative means.
See the applications and interviews page for more information and advice on disability and the recruitment process.