Hiring students and graduates with neurodivergent conditions
Tips for employers
Evidence-based research proves that employees with neurodivergent conditions bring valuable strengths to the workplace, such as solving problems differently, having unique perspectives and being loyal to supportive employers.
- Consider an open pool or extended advertising campaign to enable candidates to apply all year round. This is because students with neurodivergent conditions often need to overcome additional challenges to complete their academic studies and may miss the usual graduate and internship recruitment season.
- Implement an affirmative measure or recruitment initiative in accordance with the Western Australian Equal Opportunity Act 1984 – Section 66. This section enables you to lawfully advertise and target an internship or graduate program for people with disability, or progress people with disability to the next stage of the recruitment process. Refer to the National Disability Services employer resource for further information on how to apply this Act. If you are located in another state, look up your local Equal Opportunity Act.
- Include diversity statements and a contact for adjustment requests in your advertisements. In the application forms, ask whether a candidate would like to request adjustments. For examples of reasonable adjustments during recruitment, refer to the Job Access Employer Tool Kit .
- Provide interview questions in advance. Candidates who have neurodivergent conditions may process information differently and need more time to articulate a response that reflects their true skills and capabilities.
- Create a low-sensory environment for interviews. Try to avoid strong scents, bright lighting, background noise and visual clutter.
- Offer flexibility on interview times and delivery mode. Some candidates, for example, may find it difficult to navigate public transport, particularly during peak hours.
- Include detailed, step-by-step information in advance of the job application and interview process. Candidates with neurodivergent conditions are often (not always) visual thinkers, and visual imagery to support text-heavy documents can be helpful. Include the names of the interview panellists, if possible.
- Use clear, concise, plain English language and avoid jargon, colloquialisms and acronyms. It could be taken literally. Avoid open-ended and double-barrelled questions and be prepared to clarify what you mean.
- Don’t worry if the candidate’s eye contact and body language is not what you’re used to. Some people have hyper- or hyposensitivity and/or have trouble maintaining eye contact or shaking someone’s hand. This does not mean they are not engaged in the conversation: avoiding eye contact reduces visual input so that the person can focus on audio inputs such as your voice.
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