Define Talent Appropriately

When we look closely at an employee to determine the skills we ask: “what is he or she really good at?” Autists Spectrum Disorder (ASD) workers sometimes have one stellar quality which makes them amazing at one thing. When we say amazing we really mean in comparison to the average worker. Not just good, but sometimes great in comparison with many experienced (and talented) workers. In one it’s language skills, in another, it’s a numerical aptitude. In highly skilled language ASD workers, their skills would fit in a content specialist role (editing an formatting text). In numerical skills, it could be applied to analytics and optimization (formatting and presenting numerical results). Today’s highly focused roles, especially in digital workers, make these people simply a resource we can’t ignore.

If someone is analytically good, then it becomes data analysis and conversion optimization. Connect talent well with the skill needs, and both sides win big. If a customer wants to be found better, then you need an analytical person.

In Interviews: Give Immediate Clear Feedback

People with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) need clarity. In the hiring process, they need a quick “yes” or “no”? Sometimes subtle hints which others use in the interview and hiring process are not enough to communicate subtle signals. In cases where there are specific points to make, a direct approach is more useful than a long detailed discussion. Many managers tend to communicate in a ‘gray’ or not clear manner, are careful with their feedback and are not specific enough.

An example of “gray” communication Van Buren gives an example of asking a question: “Have you finished your work?” While you mean: “Did you complete the question and sent an email already?” This is much easier to answer accurately.

With ASD interviews we learned how you need to plan carefully (what is your goal?) First, define your end result, do you want to test a specific skill? Do you want to assess knowledge? Do you want to evaluate a personal trait? (cooperation or attentiveness to detail?) Conversely, someone with autism also directly confronts you with something that is not clear, you need to diffuse the challenge. Being nice in communication (clear, attentive, polite) usually helps in understanding the person.

Arrange when something is good enough and monitor it “People with autism are challenged with planning and organizing. They are substantively strong, but how long do you have to continue with something, or when will it be finished? Many are perfectionistic, which means that they sometimes spend a great deal of time on details.

The advantage is that people are meticulous and want to get the best out of it. As an entrepreneur you have to realize that and determine together; when is good enough. Coordinate with each other that you show how far you are and that you then show the result. You have to manage that on a daily basis, people with autism are more difficult to judge for themselves.

Keep a close watch on candidate pressure

Although autism never goes away, you can learn to live with it. Many people slowly expand their range of tasks. It’s critical not to overload them with information. Otherwise, it causes too much stress and they get stuck.

That is very easy to solve. For example, say: we have several things to do, but you are mainly concerned about one important interview point. If you set a time for each task, you suddenly notice that the work is done very quickly. You can also notice how an ASD worker is relaxed and can be organized in the following instructions. Some people are simply more sensitive to pressure in interviews. This makes it a little more demanding on making sure you are prepared and focused on assessing the parameters you set out to evaluate. If you are looking for a unique stellar attribute or skill, be ready to speak clearly and openly and listen carefully to the interviewee.

Quiet Workplace

ASD interview candidates can be distracted by noise or busy surroundings. When interviewing in an open space floor plan offices, take this into account. When a candidate is not comfortable, she will not be able to complete tasks to her best ability. This makes the interview and final results less than useful. If a person is not going to show you their best, you will not be able to see their unique abilities. Which is the key idea in hiring ASD workers? You are hiring them to tap into their special skills, despite their limitations in other personality areas.

People need their quiet space can always work with headphones. They are not going to chat for fifteen minutes somewhere to their coworkers or their supervisors. They need you to go talk with people somewhere else so that it doesn’t distract from their concentration. ASD workers pay attention to details, so you may need to replace a very detailed poster showing your product part breakdown. This point is critical when ASD candidate comes into a new environment and is curious about your company and it’s products. The figure below of an exploded Nikon F film camera is an exaggeration of this point. But we have all gone into corporate offices with these type of posters on the wall.


Most common prejudice about people with autism essentially point ASD affected workers not socially competent is not true, says Van Buren. “They need contact and have friends and relationships. Sometimes they just want to implement it in a slightly different way, or in a more structured way.

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