The term ‘neurodiverse’ is used to describe people with ADHD, autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia, and other neurological conditions. Neurodiverse people make up a significant part of the workforce, but few adjustments are made for them. Neurodiverse people have traditionally had problems securing and retaining jobs. However, there are employers who are embracing neurodiverse hiring as they value those who think differently from their other employees. A diverse team will have different points of view generating innovation and creative problem-solving. So, how do businesses ensure that their hiring processes are both accessible and attractive to neurodiverse people?
The first impression that a candidate has of your company will probably come from the job advert and description that they read. Look at the language that you use. Write your job adverts in plain English. Rather than using generic language, be explicit about the skills that you are looking for. Presenting them in clear bullet points can help. Make sure that you explicitly welcome applications from all backgrounds. This will put someone’s mind at ease if they feel anxious about applying.
The application process.
When reviewing applications, a good neurodiverse recruitment agency will use blind recruitment processes wherever possible to remove any unconscious bias. Try not to be too critical when it comes to perceived minor errors. Review a candidate’s actual work to provide an accurate indication of their abilities. Give them opportunities to show their ability during the process. This will allow you to make a better and more informed decision.
The interview process.
A potential hire may need support through the hiring process. Being open to adapting your interview process can help. An interview is a very stressful situation. Meeting an interviewee at the door can take some pressure away. Provide them with a copy of the questions you plan to ask before the interview. Show that you are happy to make adjustments relating to the interview to help relieve stress.
Keep communication lines open and provide feedback, but also ask for feedback on the recruitment process. This feedback can help improve your hiring process in the future. For neurodivergent candidates, try to remember that the interview process is probably as much a test of social competence as the ability to do a job. So, avoid penalising an apparent lack of social skills.
Onboarding and ongoing support.
Explaining things like how to book holidays, or medical appointments clearly at the commencement of employment can prevent future issues. A supportive management team is essential. Some things that are standard procedure for new employees can cause anxiety in neurodivergent people. A more one-to-one approach to onboarding can often help. Colleagues can help with settling in by simply being understanding and offering support. Managers and colleagues who maintain a supportive attitude can help someone feel like a valued member of the team. Not everybody who is neurodivergent is comfortable disclosing it, and many people may not even know that they are neurodivergent. Whoever you choose to employ, ensuring that your hiring process is accessible and equitable will benefit your business in the long term.