How Neuro-Inclusive are your Interview Processes? | Neurodiversity Celebration Week 2024

Only 22% of adults with autism in the UK are employed.

A ‘neurodivergent’ person refers to someone whose brain processes information in a way that is not typical of most individuals. Often people with ADHD, autism, dyslexia and other similar neurological conditions may refer to themselves with this term, but how does it actually affect their ability to work?

Unemployment rates for neurodivergent people are three times that of disabled people, and eight times the rate of non-disabled people. Despite this, companies who hire neurodiverse people have been found to have 28% higher revenue, twice the net income and 30% higher economic profit margins compared to those who don’t.

So where’s the gap between these two stats? Surely if including neurodiverse people in your workforce increases profits, the unemployment rates wouldn’t be so low. Well, there’s a very simple answer. Many current hiring methods rule out neurodiverse people early on in the process.

How you can create a more inclusive interview process?

Be clear about what the process will look like

For many neurodivergent people, not knowing what to expect can cause increased anxiety leading to poor performance. Consider letting potential candidates know what your process looks like. This could include:

  • How many stages will there be?
  • Where will interviews take place?
  • Who will be present for the interview?
  • How long can you expect to wait before hearing back?

It is also a good idea to check candidates are happy with the conditions of the interview; for example, some people may not feel comfortable in a group interview or if their interview is being filmed. If they decide this is something that would deter them from attending, consider alternative options to include them.

Give an insight into the questions that will be asked

Giving people a chance to prepare for the questions or topics that will be spoken about not only helps to reduce the chances of pressure affecting their performance but also gives people a chance to provide more valuable information about their skills and experience.

This will also filter out the candidates who value the opportunity and have chosen to put time into their preparation and those who have just shown up.

Set work samples or test tasks

A great way to truly test if someone’s skills are fit for a role is to set a task or work sample. This approach can help you to make decisions based on skill rather than personality or someone’s ability to answer a question in the ‘right’ way.

This also gives you an insight into the person’s work ethic, quality of work and understanding of the business objectives.

Keep it relevant to the role requirements

We all have our strengths and weaknesses, and we often tailor our careers to fit around the things we are good at. When setting tasks during the interview process, keep them relevant to the role they are applying for.

For example, presenting to a group may not be appropriate for a role that is fairly solitary.

Ask for feedback

Arguably, the thing that will help you improve your processes the most. Ask for feedback from successful and non-successful candidates and actually act on it. You can also assess how different interview processes affect how well-matched your candidates are once employed in their role by speaking with them, their team, and managers a set amount of time after they start.

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