Top tips to support neurodiverse applicants

  • Equality & Diversity
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Peninsula Team, Peninsula Team

(Last updated )

Embracing neurodiversity can give businesses a competitive advantage. This is because neurodivergence is associated with higher levels of innovation, creative thinking, lateral thinking, highly specialised skills, and the ability to analyse strategically. For this reason, and because neurodivergence can meet the definition of a disability under the Equality Act 2010, it is important that employers support neurodivergent candidates through the recruitment process.

Job description

When putting the job description together, use language that everyone can understand. Avoid using acronyms or specific terminology and think of the bigger picture when it comes to the content – don’t just include essential skills and qualifications but shine a spotlight on the values and personal motivators that your business is looking for.

Accessible applications

You might want candidates to complete a specific form or create an online account to submit their application but doing it this way might pose difficulties for some applicants. Employers should be open to allowing candidates to apply in different ways like submitting their CV, a telephone call, or recording a video. 

Check out BrAInbox for instant answers to questions like:

Should I change how I hold an interview for a candidate who is neurodiverse?

Should I give the interview questions to candidates in advance?

Are there any changes I can make to my recruitment process so that it is more accessible to neurodivergent people?

Are interviews really the best way to meet the shortlisted candidates?

A face-to-face interview may be the default way to meet the shortlisted candidates. But is there a better way? An assessment day or a work trial, for example, could be a good way to see how the employee performs practically.   

However, if an interview is needed then consider if it has to be in person or whether it could be held virtually because this can help avoid the stress that comes with having to travel to a new location.

If it needs to be in person, provide information before an interview so that the candidate knows what to expect. Details about the interview location and who they will meet – a social story – can help to reduce anxiety. It’s also a good idea to include photographs of the building and the room they will be in, as well as photographs of the people they will meet.

In the information pack, you could also provide the interview questions or the themes of the questions that you will ask. This can help to put people at ease and allow you to get a better idea of how they could carry out the job.  

Before the interview, take a look around the interview room and consider if it could be rearranged so that it’s less formal and remove any distractions that are in the room or in the candidate’s eye line, like noticeboards. Creating a more informal atmosphere, free from distractions, can help the candidates feel more at ease.

Be people centric

Overall, be flexible. Everyone is different and so will need different support. Employers should be prepared to amend their processes because they shouldn’t be set in stone.

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