Tips & Considerations for Autistic Job Seekers and Employers by Samantha Craft

I recently presented Job Seeker Tips on my website Spectrum Suite. The list is based on extensive research and my own experience as a current (autistic) job recruiter and community manager for a nationwide technology company that provides employment opportunities for individuals on the autism spectrum in the USA. I encourage you to take a look. Overall, I have found many individuals on the autism spectrum make fine job candidates, coworkers, and employees.

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In fact, generally speaking, many autistics:

  • Have strong logic skills
  • Are fast thinkers
  • Possess superior working-memory, fluid intelligence, a strong recall for details and vast knowledge of specialized interests
  • Have above average *verbal ability, master facts quickly, and discover new approaches to tackling a challenge
  • Pay attention to details
  • Have a remarkable capacity for sustained concentration and a keen desire to be accurate and precise
  • Work well alone and can focus on a limited number of things
  • Have an above average tolerance for structure and routine
  • Will stay with a job until it is finished, sometimes well beyond what is expected or asked, incorporating a methodical work style and producing high-quality work
  • Are innovative thinkers and unconventional problem solvers
  • Are pragmatic
  • Have a knack for creating new ideas out of ordinary findings
  • Are straightforward with a strong work ethic
  • Often stand up for a fundamental truth
  • Are honest, genuine and fair
  • Operate with no hidden agenda and present as very transparent and ‘real’
  • Are accepting and forgiving of others
  • Have a wonderful wit and sense of humor
  • Often lay blame on self before pointing a finger at someone else
  • Want to do right by others
  • Make loyal colleagues and employees
  • Stick with a company for a long time when satisfied with work

For employers looking to hire neurodivergent individuals, particularly those that identify with being autistics or with Aspergers, here are some tips I have incorporated during the Recruitment Process:

  • Include a person on the autism spectrum as part of the interview team
  • Explain the interview process from the start
  • Same questions for everyone
  • Interview rubric with precise scoring grid
  • Interview questions based on the candidate’s past experience
  • Avoid questions that can be answered with “yes” or “no”
  • Provide questions directly related to past work experience, not abstract
  • Ask follow-up question, if response is very short
  • Ask to move on, if response is very long
  • Limit and refine teamwork questions
  • Re-ask questions that received low scores
  • Invite candidate to send follow-up email with clarification or additions

 

Recognize:

  • Biased assumptions
  • Candidate likely has experienced ongoing anxiety from day one of hiring process
  • The unknown, company tardiness, and rescheduling may induce anxiety
  • Candidate may have brief, hurried, or prolonged eye contact (if face-to-face)
  • Candidate might perceive language literally
  • Candidate might have experienced repeated rejection

 

Follow Through:

  • Explain exactly when you will get back to the candidate
  • Explain feasible next steps
  • Provide a realistic timeline
  • Provide courteous, well thought out rejection letters

 

The Canadian Ready Willing and Able (RWA) initiative http://readywillingable.ca/employers/interview-tips/ has some innovative suggestions for interviewing those on the spectrum, such as:

  • Consider an alternate interview setting, such as going for a walk or an informal setting rather than an office.
  • Consider offering an interview that allows the candidate to demonstrate their skills and strengths through performing some of the core tasks related to the job.
  • Provide an interview itinerary to guide the candidate through the discussion.
  • Consider the “whole applicant” before the interview. Make notes on their work history and experience in advance of the conversation, in case they do not bring up these experiences.

(This list was compiled by Samantha Craft of Everyday Aspergers, author and teacher. All rights reserved. Contact author at info@myspectrumsuite.com to reproduce and distribute in print. Feel free to share link.)

*verbal ability denotes written and/or spoken

11Screen Shot 2016-06-26 at 10.56.15 AM

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