Apple At Home Advisor job not accessible to the blind
I recently applied for an At Home Advisor position with Apple. This is a work-from-home customer service / tech support role taking inbound calls from users of Apple products. I got called by a recruiter for a brief phone interview, during which I disclosed that I was legally blind and use a screen reader. Long story short, I made it through a second interview over FaceTime and the recruiter seemed very enthusiastic, saying she would be advancing me to the next round in the process and to watch for an email link where I could schedule the next interview. That email never came. Instead, the recruiter called me a week later essentially saying she checked into the accessibility of the software the Advisors use and at this time it does not work with screen readers. The best she could offer me was a large monitor. I was shocked and disheartened. Apple, the shining beacon of hope for accessibility, the groundbreaking company that opened a whole new world up to the blind, couldn't accommodate a blind candidate for their entry level customer service role! How can this be? Has anyone else had any experience seeking employment with Apple? I do know they give the Advisors a Mac laptop for use at home, so I'm guessing they use some kind of virtual desktop system which is notoriously challenging for blind users... but still -- this is Apple! If anyone would have this all figured out it'd be them, right?
I would recommend getting all your documentation of the situation together and filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Short of doing that, or in addition to that move, I would love to talk with you about this process. It sounds, according to your description, like a very clear case of a blind person being unable to have a job due to inaccessible technology.
Thanks for the reply. I don't want to take the confrontational route until absolutely necessary. I want to believe they simply have never had a blind applicant before and just aren't prepared. She did say they are working on a solution but she had no timeline for that, nor could she give me any details on the specific technical reason for the problem. I emailed Apple's accessibility team and they were tight-lipped too, just saying that what the recruiter told me was true and that they had nothing further to add. Fortunately, I am employed in a well-paying job, so this isn't a feast-or-famine situation or anything: I just really want to work for Apple and was willing to start at a lower rung. I would like to say, everyone I spoke with during the recruitment process was great, and the application process itself was very accessible.
I'm shocked to find out about this. I was considering taking on that job once I get out of High School. I want to do some kind of tech support job and thought Apple would be the best equipped to serve those with visual impairments. I will check into this in about a year or so to see how well it works. Can you describe the interview? I'd be curious to know what it was like.
to chime in on this topic I have had similar experiences with apple.
Like the original poster I thought apple could be a great company to work for because of there accessibility, I first of all applied through the website on several occasions for store and customer positions with apple, uploading my cv to there website which is the procedure.
I never had a response at all, so then my next thing I did was personally go into my apple store, and physically hand a copy of my cv to the manager.
He seemed quite friendly and said he would speak to someone, of course like most apple employees he new of VoiceOver and said that he didn't see any reason I couldn't work for apple in some sort of capacity as he new of blind people who worked for them in the US but didn't know of any in the UK.
anyway I got an email from the manager a few days later very friendly but apologetic saying that unfortunately all recruiting was handled centrally and he had no input into it and that all he could suggest was applying through the website for positions as I had previously done.
But since then I have had to assist my parents with learning about the iPad and the iPhone, and let me tell you it isn't at all straight forward or easy, the icons sighted people on the screen don't have any nice text like back or items like add or share, instead they see graphics like pencils or things are in red to indicate if things are or are not possible.
Its very subtle and I am sure intuitive for them, but my VoiceOver knowledge was of little help when trying to teach them things as I would say you need to push on share or do this do that, and they were like what are you talking about there's nothing there like that.
Or another example that springs to mind I was on about bookmarks in safari, sighted users don't see text saying bookmarks instead they see an actual book on the screen.
After my experience trying to teach my parents I think it would be extremely difficult for someone totally blind to operate in the roll of giving technical support or give instructions to sighted people with iPhones and iPads because as far as I know they can't remote into them like you can with macs and windows pcs.
I am sure it might be possible but I think at least I would need an huge checklist for what visual symbols mean and it would need an awful lot of relearning so I think maybe working for apple helping sighted people isn't for me.
I strongly feel all of us who believe we are qualified should apply for the At Home Advisor positions, go through the process as far as we are able, then compare notes here in order to determine our best next step.
I plan to do so as soon as possible.
I've never actually applied for a job at Apple, or at any technology company for that matter. But what I have done on a few occasions since acquiring my MacBook, is briefly demonstrate VoiceOver to sighted people. As a matter of fact, a sighted neighbor friend was over here about 2 weeks ago helping me check the balance on several gift cards that I have. I did most of the work, but he helped out online towards the end of our tutoring session. I offered to turn VO off for him, but he informed me that he was able to do everything just fine with VO on. Then exactly one day later I was with someone else who is fully sighted, and we were doing something in iTunes. I again offered to turn off VO for him, but he didn't need me to do that. I'm honestly rather surprised at this inaccessibility too, as Apple seems to have an excellent track record there. Perhaps this issue will get resolved very soon though. Let's hope so anyway!
hi folks, this is exactly what I've been trying to tell the forums on this page. tim cook for what ever reason has chosen to take the road and the option of grab the most money we can, and accessibility for job positions and voiceover training experience can walk. it just seems to me as of now, under tim cook, things have gone downhill in the voiceover department and training.so why in hostel are we shocked and surprised by this move? let's face the facts that he just has no vision. he can't sell products, he can't present at WWDC events, I'm sorry, but if your the CEO of a multi million dollar company like apple, then you should take a more active role in how happy are your sutlers with your products, and services. he just doesn't seem to be doing that at all.
Wow, I am surprised to learn about this!
I hope you do file with the eEOC. This is unacceptable.
I wonder why it does not work with VO.
Employees at Apple are able to remotely access your Mac through Safari.
It has been proven possible for blind people to remotely access computers for several years now.
Serotek's Remote Incident Manager and Remote Access Manager products allow blind people to access computers that do not already have screen-access technology installed.
Other solutions for JAWS, NVDA and Window-Eyes enable remote access on a more limited basis.
While none of these solutions work on the Mac, the concepts of enabling remote accessibility do exist, and VoiceOver is in practically all Apple devices, so, IMHO, there is little excuse at this point for Apple's, or anyone else's for that matter, failure to implement a non-visually accessible remote-access solution.
I think we should stay the course on this one, applying for the positions as though we are not blind people, seeing what happens, comparing notes and, possibly, taking some form of additional action if warranted.
I don't think employees can access iPads or iPhones remotely basically any non mac apple products.
I am down to help however possible and discuss this further with you all. however, I don't want us to make a bad impression on the staffing folks by coming off confrontational right out of the gate. How can we approach them while still giving them the benefit of the doubt? We want to build a bridge not wage a war.
hi their, I would like to ask, what does serotech have to do with mac related items? for those of us using macs, the solution is to get rid of tim cook and his marketing quad. they have just messed the apple experience up, and quite frankly i'm surprised that many more blind people aren't outraged by this mans actions. he's taken apple from number 1 to 0 in a four year time span in my book, because he did several horrible things. let's take a look back at the mistakes he made. first, he fired scott forestall and many engineers that worked to make software good. second, he put edie lack luster cue in charge of siri, instead of leaving him in charge of iTunes. third, he got rid of most of his blind employees from many apple stores, because quite frankly he could care less about our experience with apple products. you may ask, am I surprised at this turn of events, and my answer to half of you is a simple no. no, I'm not surprised at this because I tried and tried to warn some that this exact thing might happen, and no one wants to believe me.
I am not surprised at all. Apple, like all large corporations, employ various software and hardware from other companies. They don’t use Apple products exclusively so don’t make the mistake of thinking Apple is big on accessability so why aren’t their systems accessable? Perhaps their CRM is made by Microsoft, their VOIP is from Avaya and the remote desktop access from Citrix. Having worked with plenty of these types of apps, I can tell you most of them are not accessable. And just because you have VO or Jaws on your computer, it doesn’t mean it will work when you connect to a remote computer.
Is this fair? Nope. Should you complain? Definitely. If you’re in the US, you should contact EEOC. Provide them with all the details. I suspect that Apple will counter that they tried to make reasonable accommodation as required by ADA by offering you a larger monitor. At this point, Apple already gave you a final answer and I doubt being non confrontational will make that much of a difference.
As for the person that thinks Tim Cook is leading Apple in the wrong direction, stop supporting Apple. Don’t purchase any Apple products as this will only show you like the company, and in effect, Tim Cook himself.
Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
My reply was unnecessary so I've removed it.
I know this is slightly off-topic, but what about applying for store positions as an Apple Genius or something? Surely that would be more accessible since you're dealing with Macs, iOS devices, the Apple Watch, etc.
If the job uses the built-in "screen sharing" feature on OS X, it uses a protocol called VNC. As far as I know it's only designed to directly transmit graphics and keyboard/mouse input, which means no sound, therefore no speech. I'm not aware of any OS X compatible software that transmits sound to a remote session - even TeamViewer, which on Windows does send sound, just gives graphics on the mac version. Of course this is pure speculation at this point and I really don't understand why Apple isn't giving you more specific information. Are the internals and software used at this job position under an NDA?
someone on here asked whether there was a non-confrontational approach. Why not contact BBC radio 4's In Touch programme? In Touch I think would be very interested in an employment-related issue like this. As it's the BBC, I imagine Apple would not decline the opportunity to respond. You could then get a dialogue going.
Hi, you have to remember, Joe is from the US. So contacting the BBC would probably not be of much help to him, other than an interesting story. He's not from the UK so I don't think that'd work. Interesting suggestion though.
I appreciate all the thoughtful responses. I guess here's my hesitation about coming off aggressive or throwing the book at them: if we take their response at face value, it could truly be that the current software environment isn't compatible with screen readers, they're aware of and actively working on it, and at some point in the near future may have it solved. Because I am still interested in working for them, I don't want to burn any bridges. I mean, I was going on my 3rd interview, and I've heard it's difficult to even get a first interview with Apple, so I have to believe that I was under strong consideration.
Hi Joe and all
I think your approach here is a good one, you don't want to burn any bridges before you even begin. I do know someone personally who is blind, and actually works in an Apple store who is blind, so it is possible. so if the work-at-home thing doesn't work out, and if you have an Apple store farely close to you and you can get there easily, that may be something to look at. Given how Apple stores are located in odd places, getting all these factors to come together might not be the easiest thing, but I do want to try and be as helpful as I can.
Are we so worried about "burning bridges" and "confrontation" that we take no definitive actions at all? At what point do we decide that enough is enough, inaccessibility is no excuse no matter which company we are talking about and move forward with taking actions that are completely within our rights to take under the law?
While I think it is counterproductive at best to make unfounded assumptions about Tim Cook, or anyone else with Apple or their recruiter, I believe it is equally counterproductive for us to simply assume Apple has our best interests at heart and the company will, at some date in the future, work to make the at-home advisor or any other job accessible.
Why not take some definitive actions and see what happens?
I think Total inactivity is at one end of the spectrum and a confrontational reaction is at the other end. That leaves plenty of room in between for other levels of productive, decisive action that still help foster a positive perception of the blind community. If such efforts fail, then yes -- a more aggressive approach would make sense
I think presenting your case to theeEEOC is a good idea. Gather all the stuff you can then go for it. I already put the link to this blog post on my @tffppodcast twitter account so word is out there.
I am an apply loyalist and want to work for apple and did go to a hiring seminar but never made it past that. And since they don't have any at home adviser position in my state I cannot do this. However gather your documentation and talk professionally without getting confrontational.
This to me is the way to go. And this has gotten me father then saying you must do this this is against the law so do this before I file a class action law suit against you and your company. I'm a proud member of the Nevada NFB and plan to when we get our stuff together give an apple presentation and maybe bring this up as well. I'll be doing this in I think march or April, so we;ll see.
Great! That makes good sense. Also, you do not need to reside in the state in which the At Home Advisor position is posted, so you can apply if you are anywhere in the US.
I'm no longer convinced that, to a large corporation such as Apple, something along the lines of an EEOC filing would even be considered to be "confrontational." An EEOC filing is simply one of many possible legal proceedings with which the company deals every day. It is nothing more than a complaint, followed by a fact-finding investigation and, only if warranted, some kind of legal action.
Perhaps, while filing an EEOC complaint is hardly confrontational or threatening, the potential legal action at the end of the process most certainly is clearly on the confrontational side of the house.
It is important to note that I have not proposed anyone here take any legal action or threaten to take any legal action at this time. Unless someone has successfully gone through the attempted hiring and EEOC filing processes, there is absolutely no basis for confrontational actions of any kind against Apple or anybody else.
I am simply asking people to go through the process, gather all the facts then decide how to move forward.
Daryl, I make no secret to disagree with your accessibility movement. You are so full of accessibility, it's our right, you don't see the other side of the coin, yet your own reflection of, let's do what's right not be counterproductive. Apple, is aware of their inaccessibility, and as david s pointed out, he is not surprised by the lack of accessibility as neither am I. He is right, they may be using such software as to be inaccessible. I myself worked in a palce that was told, the software we use, we can't make accessible. So feeding off of your ideas, I should have screamed you make it acessible. How about thinking outside the box, I did. i worked iwth my boss to use MS Word, to have names Social security numbers, and the classes people wanted, printed after each call and passing them to others who could accurately complete my tasks. Now on a much larger scale, maybe apple wants a consistent experience so they use software that's inaccessible. Remember also that the process is centralized, meaning even if they might have been changed to the software they not be known by the recruitment personell. It's natural, they can't fit you in on a central platform, as they go from California, to Joe's home town of say boston. Maybe boston will say hey Joe we can't have you using this software but let's work out something. If you're willing to accomidate yourself within reason, thinking outside your parameters, you have a much better chance of being accepted and thought of as a productive member of society. Unless built from the ground up to be redesigned with accessibility hints and other scripts or whatever needs to be put in. This will most likely take more then the time, after you get some form of accessibility perhaps you will not be accepting of this. If it works for a Mac, and not say Jaws for Windows would that still be considered inaccessible, being that it's not the particular screen reading capable computer someone wishes to use? But even if you get what you want, even if you have apple giving you a timetable of when it will be in the public as it were, would that be of any use to you? would you be happy, that you got what you wanted, I suspect not as you wish them to come out with the accessible solution. Right now, they have one at best that may work for some. Just because it does not work for the original poster, why is that inaccessible? It is, for a screen reading user, as this person is, maybe someone who can use magnifying glasses, or other tools they may have at home, could satisfactorally do this job to the degree that Apple is looking for. If you go storming in, demanding accessibility, you're doing more harm. Be reasonable, be reasonable, accept that there is something coming. How long it takes is anyone's guess. Joe is happy to use the EEOC should he wish to do so. He's already in person talked with the manager and gotten some though not what he wanted answers.
Joe: am I in no way discouraging you, I'm simply syaing i wish you luck on whatever you choose to do, remember this is just a community, you need to tkae your existence into your own hands and say hey if X won't work, let's try Y. So now you have suggestions, go forth and conquer. :)
Was the recruiter from and with Apple? What software was being used? She said screen readers; to me that's a red flag. If this was an Apple person then she would have known VoiceOver; not screen reader. I would contact Apple accessibility and speak with them about this issue. Please keep us updated. Are you sure it is not a third party recruiter using third party software. If so, I would get the recruiter's name and the companies name; including the software in question and discuss this directly with Apple. I got this advice from a knowledgeable and trusted source in the field and just wanted to pass it along.
OH really? Not according to the site. You have to apply if an apple store is at least 100 miles away from you. Interesting thansk for that. I learn something every day.
I am totally on board with your suggestion, friend. I was just trying to clarify my intentions, is all. I didn't think your idea was overly aggressive. If you want to chat in greater detail about my experience with Apple maybe we can exchange email addresses? I'd love for something meaningful and helpful to come from this post, even if it benefits future job seekers down the road. As more jobs are being virtualized, I'd hate to see screen reader users left behind. Working from home should not be restricted to sighted employees
This post and the comments proceeding it are one of the reasons this community is so important. I've personally experienced a similar situation with my current employer in the UK using bespoke software that is completely inaccessible or at least very difficult to make compatible, admittedly Jaws or nvda in my specific circumstances. A very disconcerting situation when you've done exceptionally well throughout the recruitment process only to discover, that because of reasons out of your control, your employment is threatened or significantly delayed, and as in this situation, the technical information communicated during this testing process is largely inadequate. Good luck Joe.
I like the idea from the esquire from the UK.
Perhaps contacting someone from LA Times or NY Times or Wired with your story might help. I’m sure they would also be interested why a company that’s big in accessability isn’t able to accomodate a blind candidate. This will put a spotlight on how a blind candidate, no matter how well qualified, can’t get a job due to lack of workplace accessability.
Another thing you can do is contact the recruiter and ask if there are other positions you can qualify for. This way, you’re letting Apple know you are interested and places the ball in their court. Worse case, you can tell EEOC that you asked and were still declined a position.
BTW, going the EEOC route does not have to be confrontational. Maybe someone higher up in the hiring food chains needs to hear about this and going through EEOC is the way to get them. As with all corporations, they’ll keep saying no until they get a letter from a lawyer or a governing body.
This is interesting stuff. I hope you let us know what you decide. Good luck.
I'm a I'ma member of the nfb. I might be able to put you in touch with some people if I can find them. Right now I'm kind of busy but contact Megan Scedu (I think I speller her name wrong) but her profession is what you are wanting to lodge a complaint about.
Thats for letting askew about this.
I hope they can make it accessible.
I think it's important to strike a balance between advocating for our rights and maintaining etiquette.
I have personally applied 2 times to Apple for the At Home Advisor and have heard nothing either time. Now I understand why as I had put I was blind on my cover letter. Another interesting thing is when I called the accessibility number to Apple getting some help about Family Sharing the person on the other side of the line was not blind and had some trouble following along with me as I went through the steps. After about 20 minutes I had fixed the problem on my own while he was still trying to get where I was. I found the situation kind of funny even asking him wouldn't it be more reasonable that another blind person help me...
I have a Facebook friend who is totally blind and works for Apple. She works in Cupertino, California. She interned with Apple last year and after her internship she was offered a job. I am not 100 percent, but I believe she works with the Accessibility team. So, Apple does have employees in Cupertino who are blind. I hope this helps.
I've been trying to get work with them for a few years now, so far no joy. And I have more skills then those sales people. I fact the guys at the Genius bar always tell me I did their job for them before I bring my device in for fixing. They are, infact, impressed. Ok I have a lot to learn, but I love learning and spreading that knowledge.
Maybe oneday I will work for apple. We'll see.
Someone mentioned saying they're blind in their cover letter. Personally I wouldn't specify my disability on my cover letter. Your cover letter, resume and the rest of your application package is solely about highlighting your skills and experiences that make you the best choice for the job, and disability has nothing to do with your qualifications. In hindsight, I wonder what would've happened if I hadn't disclosed my blindness at all and just waited to see if I got a job offer. I considered that approach but didn't want to appear deceptive
I agree with JOE. Never disclose any disabilities on your resume or cover letters. In fact, you shouldn't mention it at all until a face to face meeting occurs. After all, you've made it that far without them knowing you have a disability.
From what I found out, a blind person will have a better chance of getting a job at an Apple store or HQ than providing phone support. A few of the software they use are not accessable with screen readers like VO, Jaws or ZT. And trying to migrate to one that is accessable would require more time and money than what ADA deem reasonable effort.
BTW, you can also consider applying at Google. From what i've heard, there are more blind employees there than Apple.
Try editing your application as you can do that, then reapply. I'm not bilingual so can't apply for the at home job we have here.
Does anyone have any new information on this topic. I tried to apply at an Appple Store and quickly found that the group interview and the whole huge loud store inside of an equally huge and loud Mall wasn't for me. Do you all think I should still apply just to see what happens? I am interested in helping others with Apple products. I don't particularly care for the sales aspect of this which is why the store left a sour taste in my mouth.
Regarding remote access, did you go deeper into the reasons why it couldn't be done? If you are connecting to other Macintosh computers with a Mac, why can't reasonable accommodations be made such as pushing text from the remote computer to VO like NVDA remote can do? If they're using inaccessible software that can't be easily accommodated, that is fine. After looking at this again after a year, I am starting to wonder. So, is this worth trying or should I just move away from Apple and look elsewhere for a career?
I think you've basicly just answered your own question. You don't really even sound interested in the job, it sounds more like all you want to do is complain.
I am so far not impressed with Apple when it comes to trying to get a job with them. I tried to apply for a couple positions, and it was a nightmare just to try to complete the application. System Access would not work with the application nor would NVDA. I sort of was able to get Jaws to work, but even then, if I was not careful entries would come out incorrectly or come out in the wrong fields. I contacted the e-mail I located to request accomodations to apply for those jobs, and I never heard back. The one person who I know works for Apple is completely hiding the fact that he is blind.
@Chrisright, If you think you'd like to be stuck behind a cubicle all day, with people complaining about bugs, or feature requests like removing the fart sounds as someone put it, from the next update, not real innovation, this isn't for you. You need to gain experience, you need to show them you're not blind at all. So you can't see the computer screen? You do it different, the end result is the same. @jordan, you are using screen readers that as a person who still uses Jaws and nvda on occasion, you are missing the point of inclusion here. For years, Windows users, always have hated iTunes, myself included. I'm not turning this into a Mac is better discussion just that when I plugged my first iPhone into a Mac, the process of doing things was so much smoother. Will this lead to whatever internal software works with it, i can't say. You also need to think outside the box. Do you want them to bend over backwards for you? do you want them making what they consider reasonable accomidations, to feel left out when perhaps the attempt may be clunky at best? Try proving you have a brain in that melon of yours. Say hey listen, if the internal software can't work, or doesn't or needs an update, let me see if we can try this. In college, i was told flat out, you can't register people for classes, intake their social security numbers, print out transcripts, pretty much nearly all the tasks I was asked to do. Instead, I said ok how about if all the workers are busy, I take their social and phone number down, putting them in a text file, printing it out so i can pass it to someone so they can get it done? Guess what? Holy hell it worked!! If you two really want a job with apple, offer those dime a dozen, online and skype training courses. There might be someone willing to take a leap of faith. As for the fact the person is hiding being blind, that's the most offensive and down right dumb thing i've ever heard in my life. I also know of a blind Apple employee as well as a deaf one. Bottom line: put the work into your own careers, don't just flip into blind card mode when the email doesn't work. Now Chris, not @toonhead, I'll at least give you points for saying the loud store and inside a mall wasn't for you. Unless you have some mad technical skills, you aren't cut out for this.
No, I don't and won't have any update on this matter. I've been employed with the same company for 13 years and was going through a rough spot at the time of this posting. For some reason I was fixated on the idea of working for Apple but have long since come to my senses. I got a new position at my current company and am finally happy again. This Advisor role would've been a terrible pay cut for me. I just desperately wanted out of what I had been doing at the time and had an idealized view of Apple. Anyhow, I absolutely encourage anyone who is interested in this job to give it a shot if you think it would make you happy.
Joe, I wish you all the best. Money is something to think about, I'm sure a lot of these posters thought about accessibility not food clothing and shelter. Thanks for putting an end to what was seriously becoming about entitlement not honest living your life. Again, contrags for finding something better, and mentioning something like the pay cut should only increase others awareness of this.
Well, everyone is at a different place in life and has different goals / needs. I'm a 37 year old married guy with a mortgage payment so obviously I have a certain lower limit of income I can accept. Someone else may be 18 years old and just starting college, so this type of job may be ideal for them. I'm not judging anyone for their motivations for a job, merely stating that I decided this position wasn't for me and as a result not worth duking it out with Apple over accommodations
first off, Apple makes an app called Apple Remote Desktop. it's expensive, about $100 Canadian dollars. I bought it, and think it could be a salution for this job. also, is this job available in Nova Scotia, and how do you apply? Currently, I am on a path of getting a bachelor of music degree from the local university, and working for a voice teacher, as I have no interest in running my own business. maybe the at home adviser would require far less education, and make me equally happy, as technology is a passion for me.
Thanks for reading,