Have you considered the time it takes an applicant to complete the application form? Especially someone on the Spectrum? Consider if you need so much information at the application stage or could it be part of the interview? Some employers use a 2 sided form to collect all they need for an applicant to progress from application to interview. Taking several hours to complete an application form could put someone living with Asperger’s Syndrome off applying for the role, especially if they are striving for perfection.
Does the application form make your life easier as an employer? Revisit your application form to see if it is fit for purpose for you as an employer, whilst also considering the needs of the employee. Consider how you shortlist- do you need all the information you are collecting at this stage or should you collect only what you need for your scoring for shortlisting?
How do you ensure that you are getting the person presented on paper? Could you consider a work trial approach to recruitment where an applicant completes a work trial over a couple of weeks and, if successful, then completes an application form and begins the role? This would mean that both you and the potential employee get to see if the job is right for them. This will then improve retention of an employee. Such an approach is part of Reasonable Adjustments.
Does your guidance on how to complete an application form match the application form? Consider completing an application form for your company as a potential employee. How user-friendly is the application form or system? It can be difficult for people on the Autistic Spectrum to contend with formatting issues, guidance not matching the structure of the application form or to find omissions in guidance.
Is your guidance in easy-read format? If you are not able to change the application form to make it easy-read, are you able to offer an easy-read format for the guidance so that it is accessible to all?
When asking for a personal statement from candidates, have you considered how you want this structured? Do you have a word or character limit? This can be very helpful to someone with Asperger’s Syndrome as they want to know exactly what it is you are looking for as an employer as will want to plan it out to fit the word count. Have you considered using the STAR approach (Situation, Task, Action Result) which avoids candidates listing their achievements, instead encouraging them to put their achievements into context so you are able to see the impact of the tasks undertaken?
Put the people element back into employment. Reducing overreliance on automated recruitment methods and considering the individual needs and differences of applicants will help acquire a more diverse and uniquely skilled workforce.
Here are some further resources you may find useful:
If you feel that you need to talk to someone urgently then please call the 24/7 Cornwall mental health helpline on 0800 0385 300. You can call for free, any time of day or night, if you are worried about your own or someone else’s mental health. The team behind the 24/7 telephone service will listen to you and determine how best to help. Alternatively, please call the Samaritans on 116 123.