Ameliorating the Disadvantage for Autistic Job Seekers: An Initial Evaluation of Adapted Employment Interview Questions

Katie Maras, Jade Norris, Jemma Nicholson, Brett Heasman, Anna Remington, Laura Crane

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Abstract

Despite possessing valuable skills, social communication differences mean that autistic people are frequently disadvantaged in job interviews. We examined how autistic and non-autistic adults compared on standard (unmodified) job interview questions, and then used these findings to develop and evaluate supportive adaptations to questions. Fifty adults (25 autistic, 25 non-autistic) took part in two mock job interviews. Interview 1 provided a baseline measure of performance when answering typical, unmodified interview questions. Employment experts (unaware of participants’ autism diagnoses) rated all interviewees on question-specific performance and overall impressions and then provided feedback about how interviewees could improve and how questions could be adapted to facilitate this. Interviewees also provided feedback about the interview process from their perspective. Adaptations to the questions were developed, with Interview 2 taking place approximately 6 months later. Results demonstrated that, in Interview 1, employment experts rated autistic interviewees less favourably than nonautistic interviewees. Ratings of both autistic and non-autistic participants’ answers improved in Interview 2, but particularly for autistic interviewees (such that differences between autistic and non-autistic interviewees’ performance reduced in Interview 2). Employers should be aware that adaptations to job interview questions are critical to level the playing field for autistic candidates.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAutism
Early online date18 Dec 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Dec 2020

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