As neurodiversity becomes more recognised and understood within HR departments, it’s important to be up to date with inclusive interview techniques and learn how best to welcome neurodivergent talent through the door of your organisation.
Somewhere between 66% to 86% of autistic adults are unemployed or significantly underemployed (Rudy, 2019) which, along with the discrimination that 52% of dyslexic jobseekers are found to face during the interview process (British Dyslexia Association), and a lack of support for ADHD employees once they have been hired (ADHD Foundation), the neurodivergent talent pool has been left significantly under supported and untapped.
One of the biggest barriers for neurodivergent people entering the workforce is non-inclusive interviews. Interviews typically place an emphasis on conversational ability, social skills and body language. neurodivergent candidates often show differences in these areas and so reasonable adjustments need to be considered to give them a fair chance.
Organisations can get ahead of the curve by adopting an inclusive approach to neurodiversity from the beginning. Here are some tips to help your company to conduct more inclusive interviews to support the neurodiverse workforce.
To help candidates prepare and set themselves up for success before the interview starts, here are some things to consider:
Neurodivergent people often experience sensory issues. They may be distracted by noise, lights, and the surrounding environment, so if you’re hosting an in-person interview, it may be beneficial to ensure the interview room is as distraction-free as possible.
Here are some suggestions for getting the setting right:
Neurodivergent candidates may struggle with open-ended and hypothetical questions, and with switching between formal and informal tones. It may also take them longer to process questions. Quick thinkers can talk rapidly and get distracted, so they may stray off topic.
Here are some suggestions when preparing interview questions for neurodivergent candidates:
Considering neurodivergent jobseekers is a shift away from old-fashioned thinking, where the interview process was mainly designed with ‘neurotypical’ candidates in mind. It’s important to understand bias and be aware that we can all function in different ways, and that performance in an interview does not necessarily reflect on how a person will perform in the role.
To make sure you retain your neurodivergent talent it will be necessary to apply these principles throughout the onboarding and retainment process too. Make sure your workplace is neuro-inclusive by offering continued support from the beginning of their contracted time with you, as well as beforehand during the interview process. This should include additional support for the individual through any required assistive technology, workplace adjustments, and by making sure that all your staff are aware of and understand neurodiversity and have inclusive attitudes from the start.
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