I'm just a recruiter who happens to be blind

A busy job, three children and blind. Roxana van Mourik, recruiter at Rabobank, is the perfect person to talk about diversity and inclusion at Rabobank. 'We need role models in visible positions.'

Spicing things up a bit at the Croeselaan

“As a recruiter I talk to people to see if they are a match for Rabobank. I work in the wholesale domain, which is internationally oriented. Many job interviews are in English and that makes my work very varied. Before the corona crisis I used to have the interviews at the office, but now of course I do them mainly from home.”

“Lately we are able to go to the office a bit more often. I travel with my guide dog Magic by public transport. By train I get to Rabobank’s head office in fifteen minutes. Magic sits under my desk all day long. Together we spice things up a bit, I always say as a joke.”

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How does Roxana travel to the office? And how do her colleagues react to Magic? Because there is a lot to tell, we recorded a short podcast. So that we can feature her own story in her own voice. Podcast in Dutch only.

Women walking with guide dog

Just a regular application

“If I have an appointment for a physical interview, I inform people in advance that I am blind and that my dog is with me. There have been times when I’ve met someone who was very afraid of dogs. It is useful to know this in advance. Of course, you don’t come across a recruiter with my disability very often. People think it’s super cool that I work at such a big bank.”

“I often get asked how I ended up in this job. I found my first job as a recruiter through an organization for people with a disability, but I came to Rabobank through my own network. I knew a recruiter who worked there and presented him with my resume. That’s how the ball started rolling!”

Full participation

“A disability is often seen as a disadvantage, which means that people do not feel comfortable being open about it. And yet you can often make a unique contribution to the work and the company culture. I am just a recruiter who also happens to be blind. We need role models in visible positions to make it clear that Rabobank is open to people with a disability or distance to the labor market and offers all kinds of facilities for them.”

Black dog lying down being petted

“As a Rabobank employee, you can contact the Inclusive Support Desk for support. I have special software on my laptop that reads out letters and resumes and a braille display. This is a device that you click to your computer that converts text to braille. I also have a special access pass that makes the gates stay open longer, so I can easily pass through with Magic. Of course, this is also useful for people who are in wheelchairs or have other physical limitations.”

“People just don’t know how difficult all kinds of ordinary work is for people with disabilities. When I started, many systems were not accessibleDigital accessibility refers to the inclusive practice of removing barriers that prevent interaction with, or access to websites, digital tools and technologies, by people with disabilities. An application is accessible when spoken text is available for people with visual impairments or videos are subtitled for the deaf and hard of hearing. Also user-friendly forms of interaction in software and online systems are included. for people with a visual impairment and I could only do my work through all kinds of workarounds. This has gotten much better. We have switched to different software, which is accessible. I am now the expert to whom people come and ask how they should do certain things! I can really do my job as a full-fledged recruiter.”

The importance of accessibility

“Since I joined the team, my colleagues have become more aware of the importance of accessibility. For example, we recently found out that we were being seriously spammed on job applications for certain positions: sometimes you get the same application 30 or 40 times. It is very time-consuming to filter these out. To prevent this, we put a captchaA captcha helps to prevent spam on online forms. With a captcha, before you can submit the form you have to do a task that proves you are a human user. For example, you have to select certain images or key in a series of letters and numbers that you see on an image. in place. In those cases I emphasize on the option of an audio version, so that the application form remains accessible to people with visual impairments.”

Ambitions for the future

“My colleagues are generally very open-minded. Rabobank is a cooperative bank and you can see that approach in the people who work there. The bank’s mission is ‘Growing a better world together’; in my opinion, diversity and inclusion at Rabobank are an important part of that. But I do think we still talk a little too much and take too little action. I have more and more colleagues with disabilities, but there are still far too few of them. That number has to go up, and not just by saying it’s important, but by really taking action.”

“I previously had a recruitment role where I focused on people with disabilities. Now that I’ve been working at wholesale for a while, I notice that I want to do more with that again. I see myself pulling the cart at Rabobank. My ambition is to get a good managerial position, where I can determine the strategy and say: `Hey guys, this is how we’re going to do it’. That’s my distant dot on the horizon, that seems very cool.”

Inclusive Support Desk

Within Rabobank, the Inclusive Support Desk is an important place for colleagues with special needs. Frans van den Top and Meryem Bakirhan help Rabobank employees with their questions. “These are employees with visual of auditory impairments, or mobility impairments. And colleagues who are neurodiverse or have some form of dyslexia.”, Frans said.

“We offer support to employees with an extra challenge and we help managers when hiring employees with an extra challenge. In addition, we take care of the accessibility of our IT systems, the workplace and our buildings. For example, we can help in adaptations to the elevators or the entrance gates.”

The Inclusive Desk fills a need according to Frans, “We see an influx of people with a distance to the labor market and we also want them to participate fully in our daily business. We help everyone with a disability.”

The work of the Inclusive Support Desk is not going unnoticed. Rabobank has been nominated for the CTalents Diamond Awards. Recognizing those who truly make a difference and are committed to inclusion in the workplace. The award ceremony will take place in April 2022.

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