Are Your Recruitment Processes Neuro Diverse Friendly?
Omage of a desk with a clock on its back and pencil on a curriculum vitae with the text underneath saying: How can a neurodiverse individual effectively prepare for a jon interview/meetig

Hi there, friends and fellow entrepreneurs!

It’s Carol here, your friendly virtual assistant.

Last week I was involved in a meeting with a client, where we were discussing how we could ensure that their recruitment process was inclusive for neurodiverse individuals.

I started to reflect on how important it is that we are having these conversations, and that companies are reviewing recruitment processes to ensure that they are neurodiverse friendly.

A red For Hire Sign on a blurred out background

In fact, just this morning, as I write this blog, the Government have published the Buckland Review of Autism Employment which focuses on how Companies can recruit and retain autistic employees. 

With some truly frightening statistics on how autistic individuals find the job market, the landmark report outlines how companies can change and adapt their workplace cultures to ensure autistic candidates are able to apply for jobs, and will have the support once employed to carry out their role in a supportive and nurtured environment.

It has long been recognised that having a diverse and inclusive workforce is beneficial to everyone and it can be a positive attribute to future employees. Neurodiverse individuals often have marvellous natural attributes in many areas, including hyperfocus, creative thinking, problem solving and ‘thinking out of the box’ all attributes that are very attractive to employers.

Although changes are afoot within many companies to be inclusive often the recruitment process is a one size fits all approach, or a hastily put together process as more heads are needed and quickly, meaning little attention is applied to how inclusive the process is.

Applying for a new job can be daunting for anyone, ensuring a CV is updated, often filing out online forms and having to recall past qualifications and exam dates, then if successful thus far, enduring either a zoom call or a face to face interview or both!

Neon sign saying this must be the place

A pressured experience for most, even more so for a neurodiverse individual to navigate, which can often result in being put off before the process is even started.

So how can companies attract neurodiverse individuals and make their recruitment processes inclusive for all?

When advertising the role, to ensure from the get-go that you are being inclusive, let people know. Including your inclusion and diversity statement shows that as a company you are inclusive and will make it look a more welcoming prospect to ND talent. Ask if the applicant has any reasonable recommendations that will help them along the way.

A hand holding a jigsaw piece about to fit it into the puzzle

When writing the job description make sure that it is brief and to the point and not full of jargon. Skills that are needed may look better written in bullet points and being straight to the point.

Outlining the recruitment process will be helpful, let applicants know if there will be a video call, if there will be a face to face interview and when this will likely be. Let them know who they will be meeting, and how many people will be in the interview room.

Often the unknown can cause anxiety, so by letting a ND applicant know what is expected and the expected timelines they can prepare themselves and keep track.

Here you can also include options such as:

  • Will you except a video entry from a ND applicant in place of a written CV? If you are recruiting for a creative role, an ND applicant may find it easier to express themselves in a creative way, rather than submitting a written word application.
  • Can you send the interview questions to a ND applicant prior to the interview so they can prepare themselves prior to the interview? Often ND individuals find it anxiety inducing being put on the spot, and in addition they may have problems recalling information quickly if they experience problems with short term memory. By having the questions prior to the interview, they can prepare themselves and rehearse their answers.
  • If they are attending a face to face interview, look at sending them clear directions and a map to the office, and inform them who they need to ask for on arrival.
  • Ensure that you explain prior to the interview who they will be meeting with and how long the interview will last.
  • If you are going to do a video call, can they have the option to turn off the camera.
  • Think about highlighting in the interview if you have any ND support groups within your company, these can show that you are inclusive and supportive to the needs of ND individuals.
  • When interviewing a ND candidate, is it necessary to have more than one person in the room, if there needs to be more than one interviewer, can you take it in turns to sit in the interview room.

Ensure all hiring managers are aware when interviewing ND applicant so that they are treated fairly, and everyone is aware of any reasonable recommendations.

If you are conducting a face to face interview, be mindful that a ND applicant may find it difficult to maintain eye contact. Try to conduct the interview in a quiet room, without external distractions and if possible, use as much natural light as possible, rather than a bright strip light that could cause overwhelm.

Image of one red peg among a whole grid of white pegs

The after interview process is just as important, ND individuals can feel any form of rejection a lot more stronger than neurotypical individuals and so it is important to word any rejection letters/emails or phone calls in a positive way. Reflect on the positives of the individual and be constructive and encouraging in your feedback.

Allowing the ND applicant to walk away having had a positive experience, means they will speak encouragingly about your company to other ND individuals and more importantly have the confidence and self esteem to apply for other roles either within your organisation or another company.

Lastly don’t forget to keep reviewing your recruitment processes, being able to be flexible and refining your procedures will ensure that your business continues to enjoy the best available talent.

If you would like help with your recruitment strategies, or looking for business support, come and take a look at we would be delighted to discuss how we can support you and your business.

Love Carol

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