March 31, 2022, by Leah Sharpe
Embrace Your Neurodiversity in the Recruitment Process and the Workplace
By Dr Blandine French, University of Nottingham alumna
The Careers and Employability Service recently organised a Careers session for neurodiverse students to discuss the experience of being neurodiverse in the recruitment process, as well as the workplace. One of our speakers, Dr Blandine French and recent Psychology PhD graduate, talked about the challenges she went through and how her diagnosis has been a journey of self discovery.
My career pathway
I was diagnosed with ADHD as an adult and getting a diagnosis has allowed me to go back to university and get a degree. I have just finished my PhD researching ADHD and now run support groups for parents of children with neurodiversities.
My top tips
– Establish how you can use your neurodiversity to your advantage: what makes you happy and what support you need to achieve your goals.
– Find the right balance between what you are interested in and what will work for you! For example, a role in which there is a high level of admin may not be the best fit if you need flexibility to be more productive.
– Focus on your strengths: what is unique about you? Ask your family, friends and embrace them!
– Book an appointment with the Careers and Employability Service and get someone to proofread your application.
– Only apply for what you know you can do, what is aligned to your strengths.
– Talk to people around you to find opportunities! Use your network and contact organisations that you want to work with.
– Prepare as much as possible your interviews.
– When being interviewed, don’t be afraid to paraphrase a question to seek clarification or ask to repeat a question (especially when you have several questions in one). At this point, you will know whether the employer is a good fit especially if they have agreed to make adjustments, this is a good sign!
– Ask yourself: “Do I want to work in this place? Do I want to be part of this environment?”
Once in the workplace: disclosing or not?
It depends on the workplace, your environment, and your colleagues. Follow your gut! Either way, always explicitly tell your employer or colleagues how they can help you. Don’t expect your employer to know, help them help you! For example, if you struggle with oral instructions, ask them to email them to you.
Reframe negatives into positives. You have a lot to offer. You can think outside the box and that’s a great thing! Ask yourself “How can I add value?”. Be solution-focused.
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