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Autism and Interviews - The Questions?

On a personal note, I can still recall every interview I have had, from an informal conversation through to day long processes involving a variety of elements. I can honestly say that during none of them (both successful and unsuccessful) did I manage to convey my true self. I spent much of the time second guessing what answers the interviewer would like to hear. Are they a true measure of the potential of employees? This weeks blog looks at the questions asked, how they are answered and consider the barriers which stop people from showing their true potential.

Autism and Job Interviews

So what are the most frequently asked questions at an interview?

Monster suggest a list of the top 10 most asked questions, and whilst these will change given the specific nature of the job, it gives us an interesting insight. From looking at these lists, it is difficult to see exactly the purpose of asking each question. From feedback gathered one of the key issues which needs to be addressed is the vagueness of questions. By structuring and wording questions, it gives the interviewee a clear idea of the type of answer they should be giving. How does each question relate to either the job description of person specification? If it doesn’t, why include it? When you ask “Why did you apply for this job?” do you want an honest answer (“I want the money/I was forced too/ because I dislike my current job”) or a pre-prepared answer (“I want to further my career ambitions”).

Is there a method to answering questions?

This Guardian Article provides guidance on answering competency based questions, using the STAR technique (Situation, Task, Action, Result). I think a lot can be learnt from this article in many ways, and in fact rather than expecting the interviewee to remember this technique, questions can be structured to allow for extra prompts from the interviewer. The emphasis is on supporting the interviewee to show their true potential, rather than to test their skill in performing in a one-off interview.


In this article Maxwell describes his feelings on interviews. “One of the main barriers I have personally faced in interview situations is the pressure of having to sell yourself and demonstrate your confidence within as little as 30 minutes. I am someone whose confidence grows once I settle into an environment – once this has happened, I can communicate and achieve as much as anyone else.” As we mentioned in our blog last week, the environment itself needs to be considered and through small changes we can ensure that potential employees can show their true potential.

Of course there are examples of some excellent recruitment and selection processes, and we are seeing businesses of all sizes adapting their processes and reaping the rewards from employees who can fulfil their potential.

We believe that with small changes the workplace can become so much more accessible to people who want to work. From my experience the majority of autistic people do not want charity, they want opportunity. Work with us to help a create spectrum of opportunities which will benefit all of those involved.

Contact us and find out how we can work together.

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