Firstly, I apologise for not posting in a few weeks. I have had personal matters keeping me busy – I will not bore you with the details.
One of the biggest updates I can give you is that I have been offered a new job. To be offered this job I has to attend an interview. This interview got me thinking how hard it is to be on the spectrum and be judged in the same ways as neurotypicals.
Interviews are very intense and require a lot of concentration for us. There will often be surrounding sounds and distractions happening which is hard for ASD sufferers to zone out. Interviews also require expanding on your answers. This is also difficult for us. If we are asked ‘what are your strengths’ we could list them but we wouldn’t necessarily go on to say how those strengths would make us a good candidate for the job as this wasn’t what we were specifically asked.
I have mentioned in a blog post before that a few years ago I was honest with my Autism diagnosis prior to all my interviews as I assumed this would make the potential employers more accommodating during the interview process. Sadly, it did the opposite I either wasn’t offered an interview or as soon as I mentioned my diagnosis the offer of a job was revoked. Due to this I will no longer mention my diagnosis prior to or during interviews.
Before an interview I practice answering questions with my Mum so that I know roughly what to expect. This preparation makes it that little bit easier for me on the day. However, I cannot do anything to help me with the distracting sounds, smells or sights which may occur during an interview.
The employer could do something about this. They could ensure that interviews take place in a quiet room. They could send the interview questions to the candidate before the meeting so that they have time to prepare. Steps like these would make sure we are given a fair chance against neurotypical candidates.
Sadly, I haven’t yet found an interviewer willing to make accommodations or be informed about my diagnosis of Autism and still consider me for the role. I like to be honest about my diagnosis but in employment it seems this is not an option unless I wish to be discriminated against. I’m sure there are many employers who would be accepting and not judge me based on my Autism, but sadly due to my previous experience with interviewers I am now unwilling to disclose this personal and very crucial information.
*Please note this post is unrelated to the interview and job I have recently attended and been offered. It is based on past and other recent experiences.*
I think employers and interviewers reacting this way is due to a general lack of public knowledge on Autism. Autistic employees can be the best in a business, we are hard-working, perfectionists and can often make improvements in processes which neurotypicals may not have thought of. To shine in employment, we first need to be given a chance during the interview process. I hope in the near future this problem will be addressed.
Due to my change in employment I will now be posting a blog every other week.