Part 2 - Hiring
The Hiring Toolkit offers all HR Professionals and Company Managers resources to help you hire from the Autism Talent Pool. We know that with these resources you will be hiring great employees.
The qualities a company and job have to be a good fit for an autistic job seeker include:
- Management that is interested in creating an inclusive work environment and offering diversity training
- Full time or part time employment vs contract or temporary
- Entry to mid-level positions with clear lines of communication for training purposes
- Tasks which require attention to detail, problem solving and established job structure
- Existing employees that are open to working with colleagues who are not identical to themselves
Rethink Job Description
Focus on the essential skills for the job, provide an overview of what the environment is like and avoid jargon which candidate will likely learn on the job.
Job Descriptions / Postings
Speak to Managers
Most advanced manufacturing organizations are having trouble hiring and keeping staff. When you speak with your managers and supervisors, explain that you see value in exploring the disablity talent pool and that you’d like to make sure they are prepared to work effectively if an autistic candidate gets hired.
Use our business case toolkit to help you discuss the talent benefits. Also, you can offer to arrange a meeting with an autism employment specialist to provide expertise and answer any questions
Develop Job Overview Video
During interviews, many organizations rely too much on verbal communication to create an accurate description of the job experience.
This creates a disconnect with the candidate who has to imagine the job and usually ends up with a different interpretation.
Companies that clearly explain roles will end up with much better interviewees who will ask better questions and be better informed about the job and their fit to the job which saves you time and money.
Want to hire staff who fully understand the role? Show them!
Job Overview Videos
Engage A Disability Employment Agency
Engage a disability employment agency that works with autistic job seekers. These are agencies that work to build inclusive workplaces by:
- Strengthening your recruitment process and HR department
- Connecting you with qualified candidates
- Support the screening and hiring process
- Review accommodations/ adjustments in the job interview process
- Assist with guidance on best practices for recruiting candidates
Disability Employment Agency
Work With Autism Employment Specialists
You might wish to work with a highly trained individual who specializes in assisting autistic persons in gaining and maintaining employment.
They help employers in:
- understanding the autistic employees needs
- building a working relationship
- and providing diversity and inclusivity training to all employees.
They help the autistic employee in:
- the onboarding process
- understanding the social dynamics and communication channels in the workplace
- understanding the social aspects of working with colleagues in the workplace
- and provide tools and strategies to manage levels of stress.
Provide Questions Ahead Of Time
Consider providing the interview questions to the candidate before the interview.
Interview questions need to be clear and concrete. “Tell me about yourself” is a knee knocker for most candidates. For an autistic candidate it can be paralyzing if it’s too general.
Examples of Clear Interview Questions:
- Tell me about your education or skills that apply to this role
- Why do you think you’d be a good fit for this job?
- What skills do you think you need to improve on?
Hire for Talent: Inclusive Interviews
Conduct A Pre-screening Phone Call
A pre-screening phone call is helpful for all candidates to get ready for the face to face or online interview.
If a candidate discloses they are autistic or have come to you through a disability employment agency, be open to an honest conversation about how autism will enhance their being your employee.
- use the suggested questions and keep them literal, to the point and skill focused
- allow some time for processing the questions
- keep in mind that the candidate may have anticipated certain questions if not provided ahead of time and might get thrown off if the questions vary greatly from what they prepared for
Face To Face Interview
The candidate may need time to listen to the questions, process the information before responding with their answer
Some autistic candidates may appear socially awkward or have limited eye contact with you. This doesn’t mean they can’t do the job. It just means they engage differently.
Sample Talking Points
- questions related directly to the role being applied for
- some leading questions around skill sets from resume
- stay away from abstract questions that some interviewers use such as “what kind of animal would you be”
Show Job Overview Videos
If a candidate has not come through an agency or been able to watch the video on your website, take a moment to have them watch it and answer any questions.
Workplace Environment Tour
Establishing best practices, providing candidates with a shop floor tour after the interview is very helpful for the candidate in assisting them to confirm your workplace is a good fit for them. It gives the candidates an understanding of:
- shop layout and workstations
- safety equipment and procedures
- noise level and lighting
- smell and dirt level
- washrooms and break/lunch rooms
Create & Conduct Skills Assessments
Individuals can show their skill set and strengths by using a variety of skills assessments:
- Showing a variety of different small tools, ask the individual to name the tool or describe how they would use the tools
- Looking at blueprints and describing the parameters or how to read a blueprint
- The individual can demonstrate how they work with computer programs such as Word, Excel, or other communication tools used in the workplace.
Most autistic candidates DO NOT disclose that they are autistic during the application / hiring process nor are they required to do so. Why? Because most autistic job seekers meet with resistance in being hired. Legally, they are not required to share their diagnosis.
This is NO different than if a candidate has an addiction, mental health diagnosis, allergies or learning disability. It doesn’t mean they can’t do the job! It just means they might need some support to succeed.
Typically, you’ll never know you’ve hired an autistic employee. Although in conversations with over 25 advanced manufacturing employers across Halton Region, we heard a lot of “That sounds like Name” after we described common characteristics of an autistic employee.
If a candidate comes to you through a disability employment support agency,
disclosure is a given.
Discuss with the potential employee about whether they are comfortable discussing their diagnosis with their supervisor, and or all coworkers. It is up to the individual who they disclose to, how and when they talk about their autism diagnosis. This is a personal choice made by each individual as to who needs to know about their autism diagnosis.
If you’ve found yourself a valuable employee but need some support for questions or communication, then an autism employment specialist or employment support agency might be a good fit.