Advice for Employers and Recruiters

Advice for employers looking to onboard neurodivergent candidates

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Shelby Konkel AvatarShelby Konkel
December 16, 2022


Recently, College Recruiter asked CEOs, HR leaders, and other people in the hiring sphere for their best advice for employers looking to improve their DEI by hiring students and recent grads with neurodivergence. Here’s what they had to say:

Advice for employees looking to onboard neurodivergent candidates

Make Sure the Workplace Accommodates Their Needs

Ensure that your workplace offers enough conditions for them to thrive. Those conditions will vary depending on the talent and job type in question. 

For example, someone with Asperger’s Syndrome may appreciate a highly structured work environment with clearly defined roles and expectations. On the other hand, someone with ADHD might prefer a more flexible workplace where they can move around and take breaks as needed. 

The key is to do your research and figure out what accommodations would be most helpful for the neurodivergent candidate you’re hoping to attract and make them clear in the job description.

Neurodivergent people tend to be quite literal, so if they feel the job would not accommodate their needs, they might not even apply. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be well on making your workplace a more inclusive and welcoming place for all.

Michael Sena, Founder & CEO, Senacea

Write More Inclusive Job Descriptions

When writing job descriptions, employers should use language that is easy to understand and feels welcoming to neurodivergent candidates. Many companies overstuff their job description with long lists of requirements that could discourage qualified neurodivergent candidates from applying.

For example, emphasizing the need for strong communication or team-working skills can put off neurodivergent people with autism. If the job is in programming, for example, the requirements should focus primarily on programming skills. Companies wanting to be more inclusive should list only the essential qualifications and skills required to carry out the job.

Dean Kaplan, CEO, The Kaplan Group

Start by Not Using the Word “Neurodivergent”

If you’re an employer looking to attract neurodivergent candidates, here’s one tip: don’t use the word “neurodivergent.” 

The term is off-putting and likely to dissuade talented candidates from applying for your open positions. Instead, focus on creating an inclusive workplace culture that values diversity of all kinds. Make sure your job descriptions are clear and concise and avoid using terms that could be interpreted in multiple ways. 

When interviewing, ask questions that assess candidates’ skills and qualifications, rather than seeking to probe into their personal lives. By taking these steps, you’ll create a more welcoming environment for all kinds of candidates—neurodivergent or not.

Travis Lindemoen, Managing Director, nexus IT group

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