Following on from Part 1, the next step of the process is to look at how we can all make the hiring process more inclusive for Neurodiverse talent. We will look at the job advert in this part, looking at how to make them as inclusive as possible.
The Job Spec is a Window into the Role, how clean is your window?
How many job specs have you seen which are clearly just a regurgitated template which has been used over and over again without being updated for a while? Have you seen jobs with huge long lists of “must have skills”? Are all of these really “must have”? This can exclude neurodiverse talent, because they may feel there is one they don’t match and maybe they see the world in such a black and white way that this will prevent them from applying, even if they are excellent at all the other must have skills.
It’s also common for lots of jargon and acronyms to be used. This can be off putting for any of us who don’t know the terms, but consider someone with Autism who has bucked up the courage to look for jobs, only to be faced with one full of words and phrases they don’t understand, it can not only put them off this job, but can knock their confidence completely that all jobs would be like that and there is nothing they can do. One way around this is for the first time a phrase is used, use the full term and then put the acronym in brackets such as “Test Driven Development (TDD)”, once this mapping has been made, it would be ok to use the acronym. But consider if there are too many specific phrases that could cause confusion. You should want to make the role accessible to all, so the language needs to be as clear and concise as possible.
Try to ensure the daily activities are called out as clearly as possible, avoiding vague statements such as “assisting your manager”, instead specify exactly what that means. The clearer you can be, the easier it will be for someone with a neurodiverse condition to work out whether it is something they can and want to do.
What will the place of work be like to work in?
One thing which is often missing, and it can be crucial for any neurodivergent candidate, would be a description of the working conditions. With the hybrid working world going forward post pandemic, being clear on the environment will be like both in the office and what support can be provided at home too. Be open, if there is a “busy, collaborative working space” in the office, mention it, also state whether there are quiet areas away from the bustle. It would also be good to mention anything which could lead to sensory issues for some neurodiverse candidates, things like lighting, access to windows, smells from the canteen drifting through the office etc. You of course want to sell the workplace, but make it an accurate description that the candidate can assess for themselves. Provide links to a virtual office tour if you can, this will help them get comfortable with their surroundings.
With the home environment, mention what support you will give around equipment setup, but don’t tie it down to just the tech. If there are special bits of equipment needed for a neurodiverse candidate (maybe an anti-glare screen as an example), be open to reasonable adjustment from the standard working setup and help them feel supported.
Feedback and Accreditation
It will also be important if you put a statement around any diversity programmes your company has, including feedback from others who have used it.
If your company has any accreditation from disability organisations or has been certified as something like an “Autism friendly workplace”, then this is hugely beneficial to be included in the spec.
If you’re unsure whether the spec for a role is inclusive of neurodiverse individuals, reach out to organisations such as the National Autistic Society who would be able to provide pointers
In the next part, I will discuss more on the interview process itself.
Please feedback on whether you are finding this series useful… 🙂