There is a vast pool of neurodiverse candidates seeking employment in the UK. However, many organisations are missing out on talented individuals due to stigma, or by not maximising opportunities with their recruitment strategy.
There is a long history of negative stigma around employing neurodiverse people, as many employers fear that those with neurological differences, such as Autism and Dyslexia, would not be able to do the job as well as other neurotypical employees.
This stigma can leave neurodivergent colleagues feeling misjudged. According to recent research, 6 out of 10 neurodivergent individuals have experienced stigma or felt misunderstood during their careers. This could be due to feeling unsupported at work, or feeling judged by their diagnosis and any accommodations they have in the workplace.
Thankfully, this is changing. Today, many organisations now understand that this isn’t the case and there has been an uptake of training in the topic and increasing engagement to learn more. However, we’ve still got a long way to go to reduce the impact of these negative misconceptions.
Why Is It Important to Attract Neurodiverse Talent?
By identifying ideal roles for neurodivergent staff and limiting potential barriers, organisations can create a neurodiverse workplace with increased creativity, new ideas and fresh perspectives.
As well as their individual strengths, neurodivergent employees often possess highly desirable skills and attributes, such as:
- reliability, conscientiousness and persistence
- high levels of concentration
- detailed factual knowledge and an excellent memory
- attention to detail and the ability to identify errors
- strong technical abilities in their specialist areas
- creativity, especially in visual or spatial or process activities
- high levels of intellect
- the ability to look at the bigger picture and think laterally
Top Tips for Attracting Neurodiverse Talent
When considering your recruitment strategy for attracting a more neurodiverse workforce we suggest you implement these top tips:
Make sure you offer candidates the opportunity to disclose any conditions that they may have, throughout the recruitment process. This may be by using open questions in your application forms for example. Ensure any disclosures are met with a supportive response, with a discussion around adjustments and support they would need in order to give the best account of themselves.
Make an Informed Recruitment Decision
By offering multiple opportunities for candidates to demonstrate their competence and being flexible in the ways you gather information you can make an informed recruitment decision.
Ensure you have a panel of interviewers or have multiple stages in the recruitment process to reduce any unconscious bias and ensure decision making is fair and objective.
Questions asked during interviews may be interpreted differently between candidates. Ensure that your questions are clear and re-phrase them if there is any confusion to ensure a level playing field. You may need to adapt your communication style for candidates, as a manager would in any team environment.
Training is helpful for all staff, but particularly for those involved in recruitment, neurodiversity awareness training we can highlight the strengths that come from different thinking, and reduce the impact of stigma in the workplace. It also helps those with line management responsibilities to understand how to better support neurodivergent staff, and what support they can offer to make the workplace more inclusive for all.