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Neurodiversity and Leadership in the Hiring Process [draft]

NOTE: This is a draft I am working on over time. Posting it as I go for readers to enjoy.

Have you ever interviewed a neurodivergent candidate?

If you have, you might not know it.

Many do not disclose this information for various reasons, generally related to awareness, acceptance, knowledge and fear.

What is interesting is that if you work out the math, the vast majority of the unemployed pool, and therefore the likely candidate pool is neurodivergent.

Unemployment in the US trends around 80% in the autistic community, depending how it's measured. This represents a significant portion of the unemployment pool

How Bias plays a part

Hiring agents reveal their personal beliefs are responsible for 55% of autistic unemployment but feel that ineffective or nonexistent mandates are responsible for 32% and autistics the remaining 13%.

Why is this?

A combination of things, one is simply knowledge and education surrounding autism. This study highlights the areas where the Hiring Agents’ Beliefs are A Barrier to Employment of Autistics.

Beliefs like we are all just robots that can only do repetitive work and need to be 'delt' with:

Unless it is repetitive work, how do I keep an autistic person focused. We used to say you spend 99% of a manager’s time dealing with that 1% shitbird. HASSQAC respondent ID #R_1IFRR8cqIaDORtf

Fear over disclosing autism in the process are driven by society's assumptions on what autism is:

"Hiring agents doubt the skills of autistic candidates, believe autistics are unproductive and undependable, and related that they blatantly discriminate against autistic candidates. "

What would help alleviate this?

I think if a candidate can help mitigate a company’s common fears/stereotypes- that would greatly help them. I find it awful that such a burden falls on the Autistic candidate- but - it would help. HASSQAC Respondent ID #R_1P6oZqzH4HubEDG

"My analysis indicated that control-related mandates, training, and societal expectations could offset these stereotypes and discrimination; however, the results also demonstrated a significant preference of hiring agents for physical disabilities over autistic and other developmental, mental, emotional, and unseen/not obvious disability types."

The Hiring Process

Having personally experienced the hiring process for many years as an autistic candidate I can verify this authors post is fairly spot on. Lets break it down, as there are a few parts here:


accommodations in the interview process

Sometimes it is important to be honest with ourselves. The hiring and interviewing process is littered with bias. It has to be, we built it and and operate it and we are biased.

So how do we ensure that these biases are working with us and that we are not swimming upstream against them?

communication, assuming positive intent and honesty.

Its ironic that in the information and communication age, we are more divided than ever. Simply put, technological innovation has outpaced human evolution. Our neurological systems in place to fiend off wild danger have not grown to fully understand domestic danger.

So we estimate, assume and guess, testing our amygdala's to the limits.

I have written about my personal experience in overcoming fear of the unknown in small steps before:

At that time, my mind didn't believe I could run past 20 miles so it began to shut down. Only though small one mile increments was I able to finish the full 26.2. I needed steps with a safety net to do something new. This is true for everyone, it just comes in different forms.

The key to truly solving diversity is improving our ability to communicate and form understanding of everyones different form.

Programs working on solutions

Long term vision


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