Problems Applying for Jobs Online Still Exist
About a year ago I talked about my challenges applying for jobs online. In a post for Inclusively I gave details on the struggles with inaccessible websites and online job portals. Unfortunately, a year later the problems still exist.
As a freelance writer and blogger, I am regularly on the hunt for new contract assignments and searching online is a primary part of that exploration. When I come across complex combo boxes and inaccessible edit fields my perseverance wanes. My enthusiasm about landing that next writing gig quickly diminishes.
Help is on the Way
Yet, there is light at the end of the tunnel. I started using a virtual paid personal assistant called AIRA. When I initially heard about AIRA some years ago, the focus was on getting visual assistance to navigate the physical world around you. The professional human assistant would use the camera on your smartphone or smart glasses to give you visual information live and in real time. It was a tool for travelers. Since I was not in need of that kind of help I put AIRA on the back burner.
They have expanded those services and provide remote assistance via your computer. This was great news for me as I continued to struggle with inaccessible websites. So, I downloaded the app, created my account and selected the paid membership level. I am able to call AIRA any day, anytime to get assistance . AIRA has a special feature called “Job Seekers.” This free service is specifically for filling out job applications and updating cover letters and resumes.
AIRA and CAPTCHA screens
I have used AIRA to help with frustrating and inaccessible CAPTCHA screens. You know the ones that ask you are you a human being? Usually, I would check the box and type into the edit box what I hear. Unfortunately, many job sites don’t offer that option. Only type in what you see with several pictures popping up on the screen to identify. Of course, I can’t do that and as a result can’t submit my job application. What I find so perplexing is the employer gives all this info about being an equal opportunity employer and understands diversity and inclusion. They say they will not discriminate based on age, gender, race or disability and feel free to disclose. Yet, they have this inaccessible screen prohibiting me from applying. This experience questions how much of an equal opportunity employer they really are. Or perhaps, they are just unaware of the importance of accessibility for all applicants.
When I come across this situation, I no longer throw up my hands in annoyance. I no longer moan and groan. I no longer walk away in pure exhaustion and don’t apply for the job. I call up AIRA and use remote access with a human assistant. I explain the problem and they check off the appropriate boxes. I have even asked them to do a quick review of my application before submission. It is always good to have a second pair of eyes look things over before pressing the submit button.
AIRA and Job Assessments
Another task AIRA has helped me with is job assessments. Some applications require the completion of an assessment along with submission. These assessments rate me on my writing and editing abilities. Some will score me on my knowledge of particular skill sets like SEO and WordPress . When I start the assessment the timer interferes with my screen reader. So, while trying hard to concentrate the timer is verbally ticking off each minute I have remaining. This is incredibly distracting and stressful. So, instead of dealing with all of that headache, I call AIRA and the assistant can read the questions to me while I give my responses. We can review the assessment and then submit.
Use AIRA After Hiring
After landing a job, the assistance from AIRA doesn’t stop. Many of my friends who are employed use AIRA to help with various work assignments. Some employers are receptive to blind employees using AIRA on the job as a work accommodation and will pay for the monthly subscription. AIRA is sensitive to the employability of blind people and supportive of removing barriers.
AIRA Provides Me relief
Job hunting has its own list of hang ups, adding inaccessibility just increases irritation and disappointment. I want my job exploration to be as stress free and pleasant as possible. AIRA gives me relief. They rejuvenate my desire to keep searching. If you are visually impaired and a job seeker, like me, investigate AIRA as a handy tool in your career toolbox.