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Employer Insights for Navigating the Job Search as a Student with a Disability

This blog entry is the third of a series addressing specific job search considerations for underrepresented and diverse candidates. We recognize that identities are intersectional and that identity markers do not exist independently of each other, and we offer this information to those who would like to apply it in their job search.

Today, Microsoft contributors Winnie Li, Program Manager, and a Campus Recruiter offer insight into their company's support of hiring candidates with disabilities and additional advice for students. Microsoft believes “the diversity of our workforce and inclusion of talented people from different backgrounds is the fuel that keeps the engines of innovation and growth running. This is essential to our long-term success. In order to build the best products for everyone, we need to have a diverse and inclusive workforce across all abilities. For example, in the case for autism, we know there is an untapped pool of talent with skills aligned to the work we are doing everyday at Microsoft.”

Explain the importance of Employee Resource Groups for employees.

Recruiter: ERGs provide employees with a sense of community with those who they have similar interests, had similar backgrounds with, and choose to be allies with. Our various ERGs are put in place to bring people together for personal sense of belonging and to serve the community that the ERG may have initiatives around.

Winnie: ERGs are a great way to form a community and meet diverse colleagues to support a similar interest or cause. Personally, I found the transition from university student to young professional in a new city a bit challenging. Being in ERGs really helped me meet people outside of my direct team who shared a similar passion.

What tips do you have for networking, conferences, and targeted recruitment events?

Recruiter: These kinds of events are ways for candidates to really have engaging connections with hiring managers and recruiters. It is important to put yourself out there and speak on your passions/interests while attending these events.

What should candidates consider when evaluating an employer’s culture and fit?

Recruiter: Candidates should consider their values and beliefs; look at the mission statement of that employer, and see how closely their values and beliefs align with the mission. They should also do their research on what the CEO and/or President of the company has published recently on both production and ethical views with current events. Additionally, it always helps to ask anyone you may know who works at the employer of interest to talk a little bit about the company culture and what the pros and cons are of working there.

Winnie: Gather as many data points as you can. Read any public statements made by the company and their leadership team. Understand what the company’s values are and observe/ask how those values translates into how people work with one another and how decisions are made. It’s very easy for a company to state their values on their website without actually embodying them so make sure you talk to people and ask a lot of questions to gain more insight.

Read more about the positive impacts of Microsoft’s inclusive hiring HERE.

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