6 Ways Hiring People with Autism can Help Your Business Succeed

It can be difficult to stay competitive in business today. Yet, many business owners are ignoring a large group of educated, hardworking potential employees. 

According to MarketWatch, 85% of college graduates with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are unemployed.

With the increased prevalence of ASD, these individuals will continue to be a growing part of the population. MarketWatch also states about 500,000 people with autism will reach adulthood in the next 10 years.

Inclusive hiring is good for your business

Autism is a brain disorder that often makes communication and interaction with others difficult. However, individuals with autism have much to offer employers. They have unique perspectives, so they can help your business reach new audiences or customers.

People with autism offer innovative solutions because they think and process information differently. In other words, individuals with ASD tend to think outside the box.

According to the Fraser Autism Center of Excellence®, the autism spectrum is broad, so every person with ASD has entirely different characteristics. However, here are six common strengths of people with ASD:

  • Attention to detail
  • Logical thinking 
  • Good with repetitive tasks
  • Precision skills
  • Ability to retain information
  • Honesty

They also tend to be incredibly hard working, loyal and committed. People with autism usually have lower attrition rates and fewer work absences. This reduces a company’s turnover rate and staff training costs.

Accommodating people with ASD in an interview

However, people with ASD often struggle with a traditional interview process because of their difficulty with communication and social skills. The good news is there are several ways you can modify the interview process to be more accommodating.

The Fraser Autism Center of Excellence® also recommends that when interviewing someone with ASD, keep these things in mind.

  • They tend to be literal thinkers, so open-ended or vague questions are challenging.
  • They can be brutally honest, and sometimes don’t have a filter.
  • They are more likely to give direct, honest answers rather than what the interviewer wants to hear.
  • They are likely extremely nervous and have a hard time presenting a confident version of themselves. It isn’t because they aren’t a good fit for the job, rather they are trying to blend in and appear normal.
  • They need direct feedback and clear expectations to decrease their social anxiety.
  • During the interview, they are often acutely self-aware and preoccupied because they may be experiencing two conversations at once. There is the conversation between the two of you and then their internal dialogue. Their internal voice may overshadow your conversation and lead to gaps in the conversation. You can help by restating questions, reassuring them or redirecting them.
  • They tend to communicate better in writing because it gives them time to process and edit what they are going to say. Including a writing exercise during the interview process can help even the playing field. 

People with autism may also have some physical ticks, like difficulty making eye contact or a voice that is too soft or too loud. While human resources may hesitate to hire people who exhibit these behaviors, your business may eliminate some great potential employees. Consider if these ticks would interfere with the potential job. If not, you may have found a hardworking, dedicated and outside-of-the-box thinker, who will be a valuable asset to your business.

As a business owner, you want the best person for the job, not just the person who interviews best. People with autism may not do well in traditional interviews, but they can be wonderful employees who will help your business grow and prosper. For more information about interviewing and hiring people with autism, visit https://www.fraser.org/for-families/for-employers. You can also call 612-767-7222 to set up an appointment with Fraser.