A new guide for employers and jobseekers for dealing with disfigurements in the workplace and interview process has been released today by Changing Faces.

The national charity, which supports people living with scars, marks or conditions that affect their appearance, have prepared the guide to advise recruiters with areas such as what they are allowed to ask and how to avoid being distracted by a candidate’s appearance and focus on what they are saying.

Sally Mbewe, a business psychologist who works as the charity’s Face Equality at Work Advisor and who also delivers training to employers around the UK, said:

“With almost one in every hundred people of working age having an unusual facial appearance, many fear that reactions from employers will jeopardising their chances. At the same time, many interviewers are fearful of asking the wrong thing, using inappropriate words or being accused of discrimination.

“These fears mean that many talented and capable individuals are left out of the job market, and employers are losing out on potentially high quality candidates.”

The Equality Act 2010 includes ‘severe disfigurement’ as a protected characteristic, making discrimination illegal but many people suffering from disfigurements still find their appearance can cause barriers in furthering their employment.

Changing Faces runs the ‘What Success Looks Like’ campaign to raise awareness of good practice in the workplace, and highlight career success stories of people with a facial difference. More than half a million people in the UK have a facial disfigurement, but research by the charity found that 43 percent of their clients said that they had not applied for a job because they believed their face wouldn’t fit, and 46 percent had experienced being treated differently by an interviewer.

Mbewe adds:

“By demonstrating what success can and does look like in the workplace we can start to replace the fear of rejection, of causing offence and of being accused of discrimination, with confident dialogue, open-mindedness and fair decision-making.”