The large majority of us go about our daily lives with few barriers to what we want and need to do. We leave our houses to pick up our children from school at 3:30pm, we make ourselves breakfast in the space of a few minutes, we sit at our desks and work away on our laptops while we answer calls on our mobile phones. Now we should give gratitude and appreciate the fortunate positions we’re in as not everyone is as lucky as us. There are lots of people who have various disabilities that hinder their use of the internet. The internet has evolved slowly since the 1980s and one of the fundamental pillars of that early iteration was that it should be free, open and easily accessible to all.

So firstly how do you know if your recruitment website is accessible and if it isn’t how do you fix those issues and ensure that it is more accessible moving forward?

What Is An Accessible Website?

Essentially we’re talking about a recruitment agency website that can be used effectively by people with a variety of disabilities, whether that’s visual, audio, physical impairments, etc. This means we need to ensure that:

  • Visual content, such as images and videos have “alt text” or subtitles, and the site can be navigated by screen readers.
  • Audio content has text alternatives for those who are hard of hearing.
  • For those with physical impairments, which may mean they cannot use a mouse, the website can be navigated using a keyboard for those who cannot use a mouse. We can use the “Tab” key to navigate around the page and use the “Enter” key to press buttons or submit forms.
  • The text is readable with sufficient contrast between the text colour and the background colour. Also the font size doesn’t just need to be large enough for a range of people to read but it can also be manually adjusted by the user.
  • The site structure is logical and predictable, making it easier to navigate.

Why Accessibility Matters for Recruitment Websites

Although it’s easily overlooked, accessibility is a critical aspect of modern web design and development, especially for recruitment websites. Ensuring your website is accessible means that it can be used by as many people as possible, including those with disabilities. Making your recruitment website accessible not only broadens your reach to potential candidates but also demonstrates a commitment to inclusivity and diversity, which will only strengthen your position when it  comes to engaging with client HR team and talent acquisition teams.

How To Check How Accessible Your Recruitment Website Is

Google Lighthouse is a completely free tool to use, easily accessed, easy to understand and will give us a good start to understand how accessible our website is. Simply open up your website, right click anywhere on the screen, select “Inspect”. Then in the newly opened panel on the right hand side select “Lighthouse”, then click “Analyse page load”. This report will rate your website on 4 key criteria, “performance”, “SEO”, “best practices” and of course “accessibility”. The report will give you insights and direct action you can take.

There are also several browser extensions available that are easy to install and can help to evaluate how accessible your website is. These include Wave, Tenon, Axe and SiteImprove.

You can also try a few basic techniques too, such as seeing if you can navigate around each page of your website using the “Tab” key. When using the “Tab” key, does it highlight each clickable item, and when I say clickable item this could be the navigation bar, hyperlinks, social media icons, buttons, form fields, etc. On this note, check to see that the “Enter” key can be used to navigate to social media pages via social media icons, that buttons and hyperlinks are clickable and that forms can be submitted. There are lots more keyboard shortcuts that can be used to navigate around your computer.

Accessibility Tools

It would be amiss of me not to mention an absolutely brilliant tool and there are competitors out there too so feel free to look up those too but check out ReciteMe. ReciteMe is an accessibility tool, which integrates with your website. It can read out website copy for visitors, enlarge text, change background & text colours, remove all styling, remove distractions on the website allowing the user to focus on certain parts and so much more.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) provides comprehensive accessibility guidelines known as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). These guidelines are organised into three levels of conformance and help provide a guide and barometer on how to improve website accessibility.

WebAIM is a similar organisation to W3C and offers a comprehensive list of evaluation tools that can help you assess different aspects of your website’s accessibility, along with providing training and technical assistance.

Screen readers are software applications that convert digital text into synthesised speech and there are a variety of options available for those who need them. Ensuring compatibility with screen readers through thorough testing is essential.

Practical Steps To Improve Accessibility

There are several steps you can take to ensure your website scores 100/100 when it comes to accessibility. Some you can do yourself, while others you may need a web developer.

  • Use “semantic HTML” within your website code. Now you’ll need a good web developer for this and this option may not be available to you if you’re using a template website builder such as Wix, Squarespace, GoDaddy or drag and drop recruitment specific website builders.
  • As mentioned before, use “alt text” for images, which is essentially a short sentence describing what the image depicts to ensure screen readers can describe them to visually impaired users.
  • Ensure that all interactive elements (links, buttons, forms) are accessible via keyboard using the “Tab” and “Enter” keys.
  • Label your form fields clearly (preferably not using form placeholder text) and provide error messages that can be read by screen readers.
  • Ensure sufficient contrast between text and background colours to enhance readability. There are lots of online tools out there that can guide you through a selection of colours which have the highest contrast – essentially “opposite colours”.
  • Make sure your website is fully functional on all devices and screen sizes.


Making your recruitment website fully accessible isn’t just about compliance. It’s about making your recruitment agency more welcoming to a diverse range of talent. You can make a real difference in the lives of job seekers with disabilities, improve your agency’s overall recruitment efforts and engage so much better with client HR and talent acquisition teams.


Guest blog written by Robert Garner
Rob has been working within the recruitment industry since 2006, selling recruitment advertising space, working within recruitment, running his own recruitment firm, launching job boards, working for in-house talent acquisition teams and creating enterprise level recruitment software. He now runs Abstraction Labs, designing and developing websites for recruitment agencies.

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