As I wrote in a previous article, Web Accessibility Jobs are on the rise. This inevitably points to a job interview. It would be of great help if people involved in the recruitment process added some Web Accessibility questions to the interview. Especially for non-expert positions. That way, word will spread that this is something the hiring company values in candidates.
In my experience candidates will at least read about it later if they miss answering during the interview. Depending on the position, sometimes the hiring happens, sometimes it doesn’t, but the “Accessibility Seed” will be planted in that person’s mind. Using that “seed” analogy, let’s apply that to the questions.
5 Seed Questions for Interviews
Now, what are good questions to ask in order to assess the candidate’s knowledge about Web Accessibility? Short and sweet, if we are NOT hiring an “Accessibility Expert”. In my experience, these open-ended questions will have answers like “no”, or detailed descriptions. Also, they will leave candidates thinking, even if they don’t know the answer:
- Do you know what Skip Links are? … if yes, elaborate.
- Do you know what a Screen Reader is? … if yes, elaborate.
- Do you know what the Accessibility Tree is? … if yes, elaborate.
- Are you familiar with ARIA? … if yes, elaborate.
- Are you familiar with WCAG? … if yes, elaborate.
Explanation: If candidates don’t know what Skip Links are, they are most likely not familiar with Keyboard Navigation, which in turn is a must for Screen Readers, which happens to vocalize the Accessibility Tree, there where we use ARIA to fix issues related to it. Mentioning WCAG just makes sure the candidate has never heard of Web Accessibility before. That, if the four previous were negative answers.
All 5 are easy to remember by candidates: Skip Links, Screen Reader, Accessibility Tree, ARIA, WCAG. All 5 are great entry points for research and personal improvement. They all dive deeper into knowledge areas shared by Designers, Developers, Product Owners, Managers and Testers. Even without them knowing.
It really depends on the position we’re hiring for. Questions will not be the same when hiring for a Web Accessibility Engineer/Specialist, or when hiring for a Frontend Developer, a Tester or an Intern.
Interview Questions for Experts
A quick search on Google for “web accessibility interview questions” will result in some of the links listed at the end, which are very good and detailed, but in my opinion, not all the questions apply to just any candidate. They all seem to be addressed to hiring either Web Accessibility Testers or Web Accessibility Engineers or Specialists.
Yes, it would be great if all candidates knew all those answers. But honestly, unless we are hiring experts most people don’t know, and they are not to blame. Web Accessibility is not new. Browsers, software, and laws that support it have been around for decades. What is new, is that the number of lawsuits became alarming around 2017 in the US. These days, it is a must-have for websites in North America with other regions following along. So, realistically, this is still new for way too many people.
Now, for non-expert positions. Candidates failing to answer any of the previous 5 seed questions should NOT prevent the hiring of candidates if they shine in other areas. Web Accessibility can be learned without having to know the theory. Also, there’s no better way to start understanding it than to power up a Screen Reader, start browsing and stop for silent elements.
Nonetheless, this is interesting and precious information to have handy. So, I’ll leave them here and come back to this list as I find more resources on the Job Interview topic: