News & Insights

POSTED Wednesday 20-03-24

How Workplaces Can Support Neurodivergent Individuals In The Recruitment Processes

written by Lauryn Pringle.

This week, from the 18th to the 24th of March, marks Neurodiversity Celebration Week, a time to recognise and appreciate the diverse ways individuals experience and engage with the world. The concept of neurodiversity advocates for the inclusion and equality of “neurological minorities,” including individuals with conditions such as autism, dyslexia, and dyspraxia, as well as anyone with neurological differences. The goal of Neurodiversity Celebration Week is to shift perceptions and support systems for neurodivergent individuals, fostering inclusive cultures in organisations that embrace and empower every individual’s unique strengths.

 

It’s important for employers to be acquainted of the distinct challenges neurodivergent adults encounter in the workplace, in recruitment for both executive and non-executive positions. For instance, a recent report from the Office for National Statistics, highlighted by Inclusive Employers UK, reveals that autistic individuals face significant barriers to employment, with only 21.7% currently employed—the lowest among all disabled groups. This is a missed opportunity, as research indicates that with the appropriate support, neurodiverse teams can be up to 30% more productive than their counterparts. This may be because workplaces fail to identify top talent in neurodivergent individuals because their hiring processes aren’t neurodivergent friendly and make it harder for neurodivergent individuals to show their skillsets and perform at their best.

 

It’s important to note that it is different for all employers what may be the best way to make hiring processes more neurodivergent friendly but here are some of our suggestions that might work for your, organisation.

 

1. A Clear Application Process

A lack of clarity in the application process causes confusion for all applicants, but it poses even greater obstacles for neurodiverse individuals. Providing clear answers to fundamental questions—such as how to apply, where to apply, the necessary steps in the process, including set out prospective interview dates and expectations for each step—will enhance transparency and accessibility for all applicants. This upfront information not only demonstrates a commitment to establishing clear expectations and objectives for the role but also increases the likelihood of attracting neurodiverse job seekers.

2. Screen Candidates before Shortlisting for Interview

Relying solely on a CV to assess a candidate’s suitability for a role lacks inclusivity. Introducing candidate assessments can level the playing field and enhance the efficiency of your neurodivergent recruitment efforts. Traditional CVs may pose challenges for neurodivergent applicants, as they might find it difficult to effectively communicate their skills in writing, putting them at a disadvantage early in the process. Candidate screening can offer a fairer opportunity for all applicants to showcase their qualifications and suitability for the position. It could also help neurodivergent candidates to open up about career breaks, for example that could be a result of not being supported in employment.

3. Be accommodating in the Interview Process

In the past, interviews heavily weighed social cues like body language and communication skills. To avoid discrimination against neurodiverse candidates, interviewers should prioritise job-specific skills rather than social interaction abilities. It’s crucial for interviewers and hiring managers to recognise that some candidates may require extra support throughout the process. Adaptations to interview processes may be necessary, and interviewers should proactively inquire about and provide any needed assistance to invited candidates beforehand – this could include giving all candidates insight into questions beforehand so they are prepared.

4. Feedback in the Process

Receiving rejections is challenging for everyone, but particularly so for individuals prone to catastrophising, a common trait among neurodivergent candidates. Crafting rejection emails with a more positive tone or even better, picking up the phone and taking the time to highlight the candidate’s strengths, can help soften the impact of the news.

 

Diversity and inclusion is a passionate and important area here to us at Aspen in our recruitment and we hope learning about Neurodiversity Celebration Week has inspired you to deepen your understanding of neurodiversity in the workplace.