Recruitment and interviews
As we know, many autistic people have a variety of sometimes exceptional skills and talents that enable them to thrive in a variety of challenging roles. However, they are often disadvantaged from an autism unfriendly recruitment process which means that many employers are missing out on their best candidates.
By gaining an understanding of this condition and employing autistic people, you can open up new possibilities for your organisation and demonstrate your commitment to equality and diversity and a positive attitude to disabled people. Having a diverse workforce brings benefits to staff and business alike, and managers and colleagues often describe working with someone on the autism spectrum as an enriching experience that encourages them to think more carefully about how they communicate, organise and prioritise their work.
The job description
Many job descriptions include skills that are not always essential for the job. Qualities such as 'excellent communication skills' or 'good team player' are nearly always included, however this can be a barrier for many candidates on the autism spectrum who may feel they have difficulties in these areas. This can mean that the most suitable applicants may assume themselves unsuitable for the job and may not apply.
The application form
Application forms can be visually busy and confusing. It is not always obvious what information the applicant needs to provide. It is important to provide clear guidance and make sure that the form includes a section for applicants to disclose their disability and highlight any help or adjustments they may want at an interview.
The interview process
Interviews are difficult for most people, however as they rely heavily on social and communication skills, candidates on the autism spectrum may well struggle to 'sell themselves' in an interview and may be overwhelmed.
Recruitment procedures often unintentionally create barriers for autistic people. There are many minor adjustments that organisations can make to their processes that will help candidates on the autism spectrum apply for jobs, and enable them to demonstrate their skills as potential employees. Many of these adjustments may also benefit other candidates and enhance overall efficiency in recruitment.
By taking these simple steps, your organisation will be meeting the Equality Act (2010) requirement for employers to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ for people with disabilities.