6 Interview Social Skills and Tips for ASD and Aspergers.
Asperger's or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often dread job interviews. There’s so much on the line that’s based on an hour’s worth of conversation. You may feel as if this process doesn’t give an accurate representation of how well you can perform on the job. Adults with autism may have a few extra hurdles to employment but are still able to overcome these feelings of frustration.
That’s why over here at Palsworks we give participants in our program job placement opportunities, and workshops to develop social skills and self-confidence to give people with autism a smooth transition into the workforce.
1.) Research the Company
This can be a strong suit for most adults with Aspergers. Doing background research for an organization matters. Most people nowadays are applying for their jobs online. This can prove an advantage since they list detailed information about the position you’re applying for.
After you receive that call for the interview remembers to read the job description listed on the application. Each description is most likely going to be covered in the beginning stage of the interview. Remember to read through each description so you can relate it to your previous job, to help let them know you’re a suitable candidate.
2.) Keep Answers Short and Clear
Adults with Asperger's & ASD enjoy going into depth on topics that they know. This is a great way to show enthusiasm in a topic and show how knowledgeable you are about certain topics. Although, there is such a thing as too much information. Try to practice answering questions within a few sentences, and then expand on them if prompted by the interviewer.
Try the STAR method
S – Situation: Break down the issue in a brief way
T – Task: Describe the role you played in that situation
A – Action: Explain how you resolved the situation
R – Result: Expand on what you learned from the whole ordeal and how your actions lead to a healthy solution
Remember that the interviewer is trying to see how well you can resolve conflicts at work. Avoid focusing on painting the other person as the bad guy in this situation. Instead, explain how you used your problem-solving skills to complete the task. This can include compromising on a work plan or helping a procrastinating worker meet their deadlines.
3.) Pay Attention To How You Speak
Eye contact: An important active listening skill to let your interviewer know that you are paying attention. You shouldn’t go head to head in a staring contest with your interviewer, yet looking around while the interviewer is speaking can make you seem distracted. Solid eye contact makes it easier to keep your head up which makes for a stronger voice. This signal of openness can help people warm up to you.
Speaking tone: The tone of your voice should be warm and welcoming. A great tip is to speak with a smile. It really makes a difference when it comes to adding a positive tone throughout the whole interview.
Flustered: Back to back questions may cause a person with autism to get flustered. Unless stated, you’re not being marked on how quick your responses are. Make it a point to take a breath in between questions and every couple of sentences. Even if you feel yourself talking too fast, the pause between thoughts will help both you and the interviewer process your ideas.
Sit up straight on your chair and lean forward to show interest
Avoid fidgeting (nail-biting, snapping, etc.)
Keep shoulders relaxed, down and back
4.) Disclose Your ASD
Deciding whether to disclose your ASD to your boss is a deeply personal choice. Many companies are more than happy to accommodate for disabilities and list it in their job post. Disclosing ASD will allow your boss to receive you on a more level playing field. Your boss will be lenient for exhibiting many clear cut behaviors of Aspergers. For instance, a monotone voice may cause your interviewer to think you’re disinterested instead of not taking it personally.
Write down a list of things your employer can do to ensure a work environment is comfortable and safe for you. People with ASD struggling with sensory overload and communication skills will be better off in smaller groups, compared to larger ones.
Don’t be embarrassed when disclosing your ASD to your possible future employer. ASD is a label to describe how your brain processes the world around you. The label doesn’t change anything about, it just helps explain how you think. There are positive traits that are common with people on the spectrum such as hyper-focusing and recognizing patterns.
5.) Visualize a Positive Interview
Stressing about performing is a natural part of being an adult. Before the interview visualize yourself walking into the room confidently and enjoying the interview. Accept your negative thoughts and realize that they’re not based in reality. Life has a funny way of making things we're scared of not nearly as bad as we would expect them to be. Don’t put pressure on yourself to ace this interview. Firstly, you don’t need to be a perfect interviewer to gain employment. As you gain more practice, you’ll feel more confident. There’s always going to be another opportunity. Remember that you only need to succeed once to get a job.
6.) Moving Forward
Keeping a positive attitude will not only improve your wellbeing, but it will also make the interview process more beneficial. After the interview is finished shake the interviewer’s hand and thank them for their time. Let them know that you’re interested in working with them as well.
Send them a thank you email within 24 hours thanking them as well. If you remember a question you struggled with, write it down and see how you can improve the next time around. Then give yourself a pat on the back and reflect on the good things you did so you can carry it over to your next interview.
Jumping into the world of employment is a large step for anybody. Starting off on the right path can be a life-changing experience to set people with ASD for success. Here are some must-watch videos giving free gems on finding employment, developing social skills, acing interviews and more!
Interview Advice Videos:
PALS Inc. welcoming staff helps its participants by working with them one-on-one to help them learn vocational training skills and job training skills at our own personal job sites. If you believe an individual can benefit from our program you can reach our staff directly over here.