Interviewing and Hiring Individuals with Autism
People with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) often struggle with a traditional interview process because of their difficulty with communication and social skills. For business owners who want to be inclusive in their hiring practices, there are several ways you can modify the interview process to be more accommodating.
When interviewing someone with ASD, keep these things in mind:
- Individuals with ASD tend to be literal thinkers, so open-ended or vague questions are challenging.
- They can be brutally honest, and sometimes don’t have a filter.
- During the interview, they are often acutely self-aware and preoccupied because they are working hard to decipher social clues. You can help by restating questions, reassuring them or redirecting them.
- They tend to communicate better in writing because it gives them time to process and edit what they are going to say.
- People with autism may also have some physical ticks, like difficulty making eye contact or a voice that is too soft or too loud. Consider if these behaviors would interfere with the potential job. If not, you may have found a hardworking, dedicated and outside-of-the-box thinker, who will be a valuable asset to your business.
Individuals with autism have much to offer. They tend to think and process information differently and tend to think outside the box. In addition, they also tend to be incredibly hard working, loyal and committed. In general, people with autism have lower attrition rates and fewer work absences, which reduces a company’s turnover rate and staff training costs.
Common Strengths of People with ASD
The autism spectrum is broad, so every person with ASD has entirely different characteristics. However, here are six common strengths of people with ASD:
- Attention to detail
- Logical thinking
- Good with repetitive tasks
- Precision skills
- Not afraid to ask questions
As a business owner, you want the best person for the job, not just the person who interviews best. People with autism may not do well in traditional interviews, but they can be wonderful employees who will help your business grow and prosper.