ad collaborative post // Neurodiversity is a topic on the radar of an increasing number of inclusive companies. In simple terms it refers, of course to the diversity of how distinct human brains and minds work. In reality it encompasses a wide range of people with Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, ADHD and other diagnoses.
Removing bias from the recruitment process is a tricky prospect, but one that can be overcome. In fact, in many instances it pays for companies and especially tech companies to actively seek out a workforce with a healthy neurodiversity, because in many instances people on the autistic spectrum, for instance, can excel far beyond neurotypical colleagues when it comes to certain jobs and specific tasks.
This makes it surprising that there is a problem with a lack of diversity and inclusion in the tech industry, but after some highly publicized critique companies are stepping up to the plate and tackling some of the issues that have resulted in many years of unconscious bias as well as recognising the benefits of neurodiversity.
Neurodiverse individuals often benefit from these key attributes:
- Visual thinking
- Excellent detail processing
- Sequencing skills
- Creative thought processing
- Excellent energy and drive
The application and interview process
One of the biggest barriers to equal employment opportunities is in the advertising, application and interview process.
This can begin with the advert itself. Tech companies should ensure that adverts avoid superfluous information, excessive jargon and unless the role demands it should not place emphasis on teamwork and communication skills.
These are unlikely to be necessary in data handling roles, for instance. Narrowing down the role to the key skills required will avoid discouraging some potentially exceptional, neurodiverse candidates.
Insofar as it is possible blind recruitment processes can help when it comes to reducing discrimination against neurodiversity at this stage. Avoid being overly critical of minor errors and ensure that a candidate’s actual working ability is the key determining factor, while remaining transparent throughout the process.
For many neurodivergent individual the traditional job interview can be a problematic proposition. Autistic Spectrum individuals can struggle with sensory processing, rendering a panel interview a nightmare as they will find focusing on multiple interviewers a real challenge.
Remember it is not just the verbal communication, but the non-verbal communication that such individuals must expend extra energy in interpreting and focusing on.
If a tech company requires the opinion of more than one interviewer than sequential interviews with one interviewer at a time is far less likely to prove discriminatory.
In addition it is advisable to send out interview questions in advance, helping to give neurodiverse individuals time to plan and consider their responses. You might argue that this flies in the face of the desire for an individual who can think on the hoof.
Of course if that is vital to the role, then that is fair enough, but there are an equal number of roles in the tech industry where planning and careful consideration are preferable qualities.