Five members of the DE&S recruitment team have been accredited as Ambassadors for Autism after completing a course run by the Centre for Applied Autism Research (CAAR) at the University of Bath.
The workshop provided an insight into how the recruitment process can be adapted to accommodate the requirements of a neuro-diverse candidate, to make the process easier and less daunting, and to open up new opportunities for communication.
Although autistic people may be more likely to require assistance, service providers are often unsure about how to adapt their communication for autistic service users. This can mean that service access can be poor.
Ensuring effective communication can reduce recurring issues and misunderstandings that can cause anxiety for someone with autism and ensure that candidate’s talent can shine through during interviews.
Dr Jade Norris, Centre for Applied Autism Research at the University of Bath, said: “Despite possessing valuable skills, 85% of autistic people are not in full time work, and almost half of those in work are over-educated or over-skilled for their role”
“Moreover, autistic people are usually at a disadvantage in job interviews due to difficulties with memory recall and social communication. Our research provides straightforward, evidence-based adaptations that can be made to the selection and interviewing process to facilitate effective communication between employers and candidates”
“We are delighted that the Defence Equipment & Support Talent Acquisition Team are certified as Ambassadors for Autism, and are working to deliver adaptations such as asking clearer interview questions, providing more time in interviews, and offering adaptations to the environment.”
Rich Steiner, HR Operations Talent Acquisition Co-Ordinator at DE&S, said: “We’re proud to be ambassadors of CAAR’s work, helping them to put their evidence-based approaches into practice. It will mean we can offer improvements in our recruitment that help our candidates feel welcome and included, and do our best to adapt to any personal requirements that they might have.”
“By collaborating with CAAR to provide ongoing feedback about the impact of their approaches, we can continue to offer the very best service and environment for candidates and staff with autism – supporting them in excelling in their interviews and in their careers.”
CAAR has put forward simple recommendations that can make a big difference for autistic candidates, such as asking whether they require things like a darker or quieter room, offering other extra sensory adaptations, detailed written directions rather than a typical map, and even allowing more time during the interview process.
“We would encourage any candidates who have disabilities or impairments to disclose this at the application stage so that we can make the necessary arrangements to accommodate their needs and make the process as inclusive as possible,” says Steiner.
Find out more about our Diversity & Inclusion policy here.