Neurodiversity in the Workplace: Creating an Inclusive Hiring Process

In the first instalment of our ‘Neurodiversity in the Workplace’ series, Consultant, Mollie Rogerson explores four key areas a Hiring Manager can focus on to create a more inclusive hiring process.

When examining your hiring process, there are easy ways to create a more inclusive environment to attract top level talent. Enhancing your recruitment process involves overcoming barriers that jobseekers may encounter during the recruitment process. Some examples of overcoming these obstacles include:

  1. Reflecting on the language used when advertising a new role
  2. Encouraging applicants to disclose any neurodiverse conditions on their applications, and demonstrating a willingness to provide reasonable accommodations
  3. Sharing interview themes and questions in advance to help candidates prepare effectively
  4. Providing information or photos of the interview location and interviewer to reduce unfamiliarity-related stress leading up to an interview
  5. Considering alternative assessment methods, such as practical assessments or computer-based exercises, or taking into account a candidate’s condition while evaluating their results


1. Job Adverts

Many employers may rely on posting a web advert to attract the right calibre of candidate. In some cases, the language used can impact whether a potential applicant feels they are qualified for a role. A study conducted by the hiring platform Applied, found that applications from female candidates dropped by up to 10% when using masculine-coded language. Words such as ‘strong’ or ‘challenging’ can create a view of a negative working environment compared to words such as ‘collaborate’ or ‘strive’ which can be seen to be more inclusive. Being aware of gender-coding within a job advert and making small changes to create more gender-neutral text can have a big impact on candidates who choose to apply.

Here is a link to the gender-decoder we use at Livingston James Group: This tool was created based on a research paper written by Danielle Gaucher, Justin Friesen, and Aaron C. Kay in 2011. Simply drop your draft advert text into the decoder to receive feedback on gender-biased words you could swap out for a more gender neutral equivalent.


2. Interview Process

When looking at how an interview process is structured, there are several steps that can be taken to make this more inclusive for those who may be affected by neurodivergence, such as dyslexia or anxiety, or those who fall somewhere on the autism spectrum. Outlining what an interview process looks like at the start can make a candidate feel more comfortable and gives them the opportunity to feel they are prepared ahead of time.

It can be helpful for a hiring team to know if there are any reasonable adjustments that need to be made for candidates. When setting up an interview, by adding the phrase “please let me know if you require any reasonable adjustments for the meeting”, candidates are afforded the opportunity to let you know in advance. Knowing the number of stages involved in a process, as well as the style of interview, can also impact how someone may prepare or perform, so ensure you are as transparent as possible at the start of a process with your candidates.

Competency-Based Interviews:

When conducting competency-based interviews, by outlining the key competencies that will be assessed in advance, you can ensure that those being interviewed have had the opportunity to fully prepare. This may involve outlining the competencies in a role description or discussing this with the recruiter you are working in partnership with. The approach to competency-based interviews will be the same in both situations, and the use of the STAR technique is one that is known to many (Situation, Task, Action and Result). It is often said that preparing for a competency-based interview can be similar to preparing for an exam, and knowing the competencies ahead of time can improve performance.

CV-based Interviews:

If you are conducting a CV-based interview, it may be useful to let candidates know ahead of time the questions that may be asked. Some neurodivergent people may feel anxious or unsure ahead of an interview if they don’t know the questions that may be asked. This can cause them to underperform in comparison to someone who may feel more comfortable discussing their career, goals and achievements off the cuff.


3. Approaching Interview Feedback

Offering clear and concise feedback after an interview is something that is beneficial for every candidate. Sometimes interviewers may feel that giving negative feedback is uncomfortable. However, if offered in a constructive manner, feedback can allow the candidate to develop their skills for future opportunities. Often when feedback is positive, and even if another candidate had more experience, outlining the specifics of why the other candidate was successful can give the unsuccessful candidate areas to focus on and develop, such as certain skills or weaknesses.


4. Candidate Onboarding

When you have found the perfect candidate and the offer has been accepted, there can be elements of the onboarding process that may feel scary to some candidates. Outlining what the onboarding process looks like, including the initial first day and week, can be comforting to some. It may also be worth highlighting what additional support may be offered. As someone who personally struggles with Dyslexia, the support offered by our Sales Support team, checking over my thought pieces for spelling and grammar errors, has allowed me to enjoy elements of my role that I had previously dreaded.


There can be elements at each stage of the hiring process that may not always be at the forefront of a Hiring Manager’s mind. However, small changes can help attract a wider pool of top talent, creating a more inclusive and diverse team in the long term.

If you would like to find out more about how you can create an inclusive hiring process, please reach out to [email protected]