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The language of Neurodiversity

How can we support during the recruitment process

What is all this Neurodiversity chatter......

Its really important to respect difference, we have different hair colour, skin colour, like different hobbies, but we sometimes think, speak, behave differently and it isnt deficient or bad its just different.

There are two types of humans, Neurotypical (seen as standard/mainstream) and Neurodivergent (someone who has a diagnosis or self diagnosed with Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia etc)

When interviewing neurodivergent individuals, it's essential to approach the process with sensitivity and inclusivity. Here are five key points to consider:

  1. Flexibility and Accommodations: Recognise that neurodivergent individuals may have diverse needs and preferences. Ask and be open to making reasonable accommodations, such as adjusting interview formats or providing extra time, to ensure a fair and accessible interview process. Create an interview environment that is as quiet and distraction-free as possible. Avoid strong scents, bright lighting, and loud noises, which can be overwhelming.
  2. Clear Communication: Ensure that your communication is clear and straightforward. Use plain language and avoid metaphorical expressions or idioms that may be confusing. Be patient and give them ample time to process and respond to questions. If you say to an autistic person who takes things literally "Tell me about yourself" it could throw them into panic, they would wonder which bit you want to know. Be specific.
  3. Structured Questions: Use structured, concise questions and allow for written responses or visual aids if it helps the candidate better convey their thoughts. Be mindful of open-ended questions, as they may be challenging for some neurodivergent individuals. I would ask if they would like a copy of the questions in advance, or in front of them to refer to.
  4. Respect Individual Differences: Understand that neurodiversity encompasses a wide range of conditions, including autism, ADHD, dyslexia, and more. What works for one person may not work for another. Respect and acknowledge the individual's unique strengths and challenges. 'If you have met one person with Autism, you've met one person with Autism' - Dr Stephen Shore.

Remember that the goal is to provide an equitable and inclusive interview experience that allows neurodivergent individuals to demonstrate their abilities and skills effectively.

When in doubt, ask the candidate for their preferences and needs, as they are the best experts on how to make the interview process more accommodating for them.

If you are looking for any guidance with regards to setting up interview questions, job descriptions, adverts etc please get in touch 01704 336271 - We have a variety of lived experience and diagnosis with autism, adhd and dyslexia.

Further reading - Highly reccomended - Neurodiversity at Work - Theo Smith and Amanda Kirby