There has been an increasing interest and focus in recent years towards organisations recognising and leveraging the unique skillsets of neurodiverse employees – namely, those with neurological variations such as Autism, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, and ADHD.
This unique skillset can include one or many of the following:
- ability to be hyper focus,
- to think outside the box and innovate,
- greater awareness and attention to detail,
- greater logical and analytical thinking,
- or greater honesty and authenticity.
Employers are realising that these skills could give them an edge over their competition, particularly in a rapidly changing and technologically driven environment.
What can organisations do to attract and retain neurodiverse candidates?
As part of our recent research project and White Paper, Improving the Recruitment and Selection of People with Disabilities, we looked at what organisations are and can be doing to support neurodiverse candidates through recruitment and into employment. While neurodiverse employees have a lot to offer and can be valuable additions to a team, they may also have unique needs and face barriers when they progress through traditional recruitment methods.
From our research, conversations with organisations who support neurodiverse job candidates, and case studies from organisations who have successful neurodiversity programs, we collected the following recommendations for improving the recruitment and selection process:
- Inform candidates up front about the details of the recruitment process and what to expect. This could include names of interviewers, photos of the venue where assessments/interviews will take place, and any other information that will enable them to familiarise and prepare for the recruitment experience.
- Look for alternatives to traditional recruitment methods (e.g. work trial, portfolio, informal discussions, or presentations instead of resumes, psychometric testing, and interviews).
- Prior to the interview, allow the candidate to preview the questions and prepare answers.
- Ensure all recruitment processes occur in a quiet and distraction-free environment.
- Inform the candidate ahead of time if there are any changes so that they are not caught by surprise.
- Consider removing or changing any time restrictions during psychometric testing or when answering interview questions.
- Consider whether psychometric testing is necessary and/or appropriate for this candidate and/or role (e.g. ability tests are often considered inappropriate for those with dyslexia and personality tests may not be appropriate for those with autism).
Onboarding and support in the workplace
- Partner with organisations that support these candidates – they can provide resources, advice, training, and support for both the organisation and candidate.
- Provide relevant training to recruiters, supervisors, and other team members to help them appropriately support and work with the candidate/new employee.
- Create internships and traineeships to support neurodiverse students and graduates into the workplace.
- To be more attractive and accessible to neurodiverse employees, offer flexibility in terms of work hours, environment, and processes where possible (e.g. adjusting noise or lighting, providing headphones, work from home, alternate/flexible hours, adjusting tasks)
- Work with candidate to find a role/team that fits their unique needs and skillset.
- Ask the candidate what would help them get the process – no one knows better than them the specific challenges they will face and the best ways to cope with these.
If you’re looking for further advice on the recruitment and selection of people with neurodiversities please contact our team today.