My Experience with Autism Advantage
Binc is always looking for new ways to volunteer and give back to the community. Given that a few Bincers are involved with the special needs community, we took on a project working with an organization called Autism Advantage. The purpose of our partnership with Autism Advantage is to provide recruiter resources to candidates who want extra help with their interviewing skills; interviewing can be a daunting and confusing experience for candidates with neurological differences, so we are trying to alleviate some of those burdens by providing mock interviews.
For the first round of mock interviews, approximately five Bincers from both our Los Angeles and San Francisco Units volunteered their time to work with some really amazing young professionals. I partnered with a candidate from Autism Advantage who is an emerging data scientist hoping to land a job in this new area of interest for him. I opted to do our practice interview via Zoom (web camera) versus over the phone; I am so thankful that I was able to conduct the interview in this way because I could clearly read the emotions he evoked. We began the session with a few quick ice-breakers before I proceeded to ask typical questions that I would in a real recruiter screen. He was very easy to communicate with and was well-prepared for the interview. After we concluded, I gave him some real-time feedback and advice. He was also able to ask me a few questions “off-camera.”
The experience was amazing. I personally have spent a lot of time working with Autistic children, but I had never been able to bring my profession into the works. The overall project helped me realize that when discussing Diversity and Inclusion, we must also be aware of Neurodiversity. Aside from Autism, some other forms of Neurodiversity include Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Dyscalculia, and Tourette Syndrome. It’s easy to pass judgment on candidates when we are not fully aware of their situation and in today’s world, a lot of focus has been placed on culture fit when determining a candidate’s suitability for a job. What a lot of people are not aware of is that interviewing candidates who “are awkward” or “didn’t make eye contact” or “didn’t seem focused” may not be because of shyness or lack of respect, but rather because he/she is Neurodivergent.
Working in the recruiting space, we must be very aware of all forms of diversity when interviewing candidates. This encompasses everything from the company’s webpage, the way their job descriptions are written, the length of an interview, the lighting in an interview room, all the way to how we converse with candidates. I am so glad to have been given the chance to work with Autism Advantage; it has further expanded my understanding of an inclusive interview process and ways in which diversity can be seen.