Believe it or not, a job interview is often the biggest stumbling block for autistic and neurodivergent talent. We went around the room and asked members of ourSourceAbledrecruiting team to share their expert advice for overcoming the interview blues. In this blog, we’ve compiled practical tips that we hope would be helpful for candidates with autism.
Before the interview:
Be sure to do your research on the company you’re interviewing with.
Practising a mock interview with someone you trust is invaluable.
Get plenty of rest the evening before and have a glass of water available and/or ask if you can bring a bottle of water to the interview.
During the interview:
Say hello, introduce yourself, and thank them for inviting you to the interview.
Prepare to “show” your previous work, projects, creations, ideas, etc. rather than just talking about it whenever possible.
There are companies out there that are inclusive, and it's okay to ask questions on an interview to find out if they'll be good for YOU.
It's okay to ask for clarification on a question, or to ask the interviewer to repeat themselves.
Ask if your specific accommodations can be met.
Ask if other current employees with autism are open to disclosure so you can feel comfortable in your role with them.
Don't feel the pressure to respond right away. If silence feels awkward for you, and you need time to think, it's perfectly fine to tell the interviewer, "That's a great question. I'll just need a minute to think about the answer."
If you're sensitive to sound, use ear plugs to reduce background noise.
If you have sensory issues and are choosing not to disclose, you may keep a "fidget" of some kind under the desk/out of view while interviewing.
If you need to stim but don't want it to be distracting, keeping a paper clip in your pocket could be a great idea.
Last but not the least…
Remember that you’re valuable and worthy of respect and meaningful employment consistent with your qualifications.