Tips to improve your interview inclusivity

Kat Snodgrass

~ 3min read

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~ 3min read

When building any team, it can be hugely beneficial to bring on board a wide range of people offering different perspectives and ways of thinking about and solving problems. Unfortunately, many widely accepted interview practices can be very challenging for a lot of people, including some neurodiverse individuals.

As a result, businesses regularly discount talent who might make fantastic additions to their workforce by using historic ways of interviewing that do not allow candidates to get their strengths and personality across, as well as failing to make accommodations for different needs throughout the recruitment process.

However, it’s important to remember that everyone is different, and a lot of individuals are undiagnosed or do not declare their neurodiversity, so every stage should be designed to be inclusive without needing reasonable adjustment.

Here, Kat Snodgrass, Global Accounts Director at mthree offers some key tips that businesses can implement at each stage to ensure they’re not inadvertently overlooking potentially amazing talent.

> When advertising

When drafting an advert for a role, employers should question every requirement in the job specification and ensure they only list specific skills that are genuinely required for that particular role. For example, excellent communication skills or being a team player may be required in some developer roles but not as important in others, yet most adverts for developer roles will say “…must have excellent communication skills and be a team player”.

Similarly, they should advertise elements of a role that will attract a broad range of individuals. For example, some candidates may be particularly interested in career progression, while others more interested in the day-to-day responsibilities or support at hand. Providing an accurate, broad picture of the role and organisation will help to appeal to a wider range of potential candidates.

> Before the interview

Once an initial job application has been successful, the recruitment processes and stages should be made explicitly clear to all candidates so that they know exactly what to expect.

Prior to any interviews, candidates should be provided with a format for the interview, allowing them to prepare suitably. Employers can take much of the stress out of attending an interview by also attaching a map, the exact length of interview, and the names of people they will be meeting with.

> During the interview

During the interviews themselves, employers should strive to help all candidates show off their suitability for the role, focusing on their specific skills rather than their ability to read and react to social cues. If a candidate is unable to make eye contact or comes across as fidgety, do not use these as reasons to mark them down, focus on the content of what the interviewee is saying.

Direct questions with a clear close are beneficial. For example, rather than asking ‘How do you cope with pressurized environments?’, it may be more effective to ask ‘Can you tell me about a time you coped with a pressurized environment?’. Avoid vague and open-ended remarks. If an answer is given that is longer than required, it is okay to let the candidate know they have given enough and to move onto next question.

Some people may need extra time to consider how best to answer your questions, so interviewers should allow for a delay in reply before jumping in or prompting.

It’s worth bearing in mind that panel interviews with multiple people can cause challenges for individuals who may have issues with focus or understanding non-verbal cues, meaning a sequence of 1-2-1 interviews is a more inclusive alternative. In this case, businesses should make sure there are breaks between the interviews.

While awareness of neurodiversity is hugely important during the recruitment and interview process, it should be a natural extension for a business that is already well-informed about neurodiversity and how to provide individualized support for all employees.

Are you looking to build a team with diverse emerging talent? Learn how our Hire Train Deploy model can help you access the trained talent you need.

> Kat Snodgrass

Kat Snodgrass, the Global Accounts Director at mthree, is an advocate for creative resource solutions. She focuses on developing strategic methods to offer flexible, cost-effective propositions that meet client needs.

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