Welcoming Neurodiverse Team Members

woman in blazer smiling during an interviewAre you a manager or person who hires people into a team?

Have you ever considered that the people you’re advertising to might not be neurotypical?

In fact, have you actually considered that a neurodivergent candidate might be a great person for the job role you last advertised?

And now be completely honest. Do you even know what “neurotypical” and “neurodivergent” mean?

It’s fine if you’re unsure; (we’ll wait for you to quickly google it) – but it’s time to start getting familiar with the answers. Not just for the benefit of your candidates, but for your own. By not getting this right, you’re likely missing out on a massive untapped talent pool. And you really don’t want to do that.

When it comes to neurodiversity, there’s lots to learn. Despite what some people think, there are no standard ways all neurodivergent people behave, no textbook universal strengths and challenges, no one size fits all profile.

You cannot just put your neurodivergent employees or candidates in a box and think you’ve got them all figured out. You may have met one autistic person – but that doesn’t mean you’ve met them all.

But while there aren’t copy and paste ways you should treat people – there are some things you should start and stop doing during the hiring and interview process. And beyond, but we’ll get to that.

For a start – we need to admit that the traditional interview process is dated. I’m talking about the open-ended “tell us about a time you were challenged but you had everything under control, and you excelled, but also questioned your entire life?” These feel like they’re designed to trap your candidate into having a breakdown, not encourage them to open up and share their experiences. For almost everyone, these are a nightmare. For a neurodivergent person, they’re literally impossible to answer.

And small talk. Are you going to dismiss the talents and skills of a person because they’re not good at talking about how mild the weather is? Or how much of a nightmare the traffic was on the way down? How important is this, really?

We’re just scratching the surface here. For a ton more information and inspiration on how to be a more inclusive manager or hiring professional, you’re going to need some great eLearning on diversity and inclusion.