This piece is full of tips, but it also takes a more holistic look at work, who we hire and why exuding confidence and embracing difference is what brands (and people who build them) need most in 2020. In addition to offering job interview advice you’ve probably never heard put in quite this way, my hope is to reboot the way the corporate world sees ADHD, dyslexia, dyscalculia, executive function and processing deficits and the people who live, work and succeed with them. These are basic tips—for both job seekers and interviewers—to get a difficult conversation about thinking and working differently started:
Tips for Job Seekers
Don’t Label Yourself. Be Yourself. Medical labels are only your friend when you are seeking a diagnosis or treatment. In the workplace, there’s no need for you to talk about them unless you want to.
Quit Trying On Normal. If you’ve been raised with a learning disability, the number of times you have been shamed as a young person for your behavior may be indelibly etched in your brain. One way to gain confidence is to openly talk about those battles in the past tense. They are successes.
Purposely Position Yourself As Different. Why shy away from it? Who do you know who gets excited about meeting a super-average person? Unique is very 2020. Talk about your flexibility or creativity, your self-awareness and your empathy for others. You’ve survived all the crap doled out in high school and beyond. That means you had to be resilient, make frenemies, use humor as a shield or empathy to gain buy-in. Reframe learning disabilities as leadership qualities in the workplace.
Question Monoculture. Maybe you’ve noticed—the world has no normal these days, whether you are talking politics, bioethics or work-family balance. Think of the business world as being in its teenage years when it comes to disruption. If you have a teenager who asks constantly at school functions, you’ve heard: Can’t you just act normal for once? Of course normal isn’t possible, few parents seem normal to high schoolers. Unless you can self-destruct and disappear in a Lebron-style poof of colored chalk or arrive in JVN style to the parent-teacher conference, they’ll have to deal with you.
Zig When Others Zag. The worst five words my parents ever said to me as a teen? We’re not like other families. Thankfully, times are changing. Standing out and standing up is becoming the new normal. Some people say that not doing things the way other people do makes you uniquely qualified to bring new solutions and ideas to work. If so, maybe you rolled your eyes as in Right, who would believe that line? Interviewees need to be sure they tell their story in a unique way but make their point clear, instructive, interesting and relevant. Most interviewers haven’t yet enough outwardly proud neurodiverse candidates to understand where you are coming from. When they do, you’ll be unforgettable in a good way. No interviewer forgets a great story of redemption, change or caring.
Know Your Craft or Be Enthusiastic About Learning. You will need the hard skills to back up those soft ones. But you may already be a curious, lifelong learner. The more adept you are in your field, the less anxious stressed or blindsided you’ll feel when change happens at work.
Tips for Hiring Managers
As an interviewer, you also need to get comfortable with neurodiversity. This can’t come from a training webinar alone. It comes from talking to real people who are neurodiverse. Meet with or speak with as many different sounding, different-thinking, different looking candidates as you can.
Know About Neurodiversity. Five years ago, Steve Silberman’s award-winning examination of autism, Neurotribes, was published. In it, he explains the idea of neurotypical behavior as existing on a spectrum. He reframes the word normal in positive, human, understandable ways. Another respected researcher and writer, Judy Singer, Neurodiversity: The Birth of An Idea also discussed diverse behaviors that make up a spectrum. The Australian sociologist became well known best for coining the word neurodiversity. In the 1990s, she coined the term as shorthand for a way to explain how there is a variation in the way the human brain socializes, learns and functions. Since then, another word for differentiation has emerged—neurodivergence. Still, many companies persist in wanting to boil their brand and the people who create it down into one culture—one norm. I don’t think one company culture will thrive in 2020.
Don’t Dwell On Labels Or Personality Tests. From a business standpoint, I think it’s important to know about these terms, but also not to dwell on them when it comes to assessing or learning more about different types of employees. More important to me than a label is an intention. Your why? and how? may be different than mine. But the least-acceptable way to use it as a source of discrimination. That discrimination, bias (or ok, unconscious bias) still runs rampant in the business community. Start talking about bias openly.
Listen Or Ask About Preferred Language. Take cues on language from interviewees. Some people want to be referred to as people with disabilities (people-first language) while others want to be referred to, for example, as autistic (vs. a person with autism) because it’s proudly part of their identity. I lean toward not separating a diagnosis and the person. One way is to think about whether you are coming at language in a respectful way or with a positive or negative bias. Do you set up firewalls or create bridges? Businesses today have a lot of firewalls. Build more bridges.
Quit The Normal Business. The rebel leader in me often asks: Why would anyone want to be normal? The disruptor in me asks: What does it mean when something is normalized? In the future, it will mean powerful teams creating more relevant, useful products through collaboration. Few organizations will be in the business of trying to be normal. It even sounds ridiculous when you say it today. Our mission is to save lives and be normal. Our vision is a normal world. We are in the business of creating normal things for normal people. If I was normal, I would say, good luck with that normal project. But proudly, I am not.
Source : https://www.forbes.com/sites/denisebrodey/2019/10/28/the-best-and-worst-advice-for-job-seekers-and-interviewers-in-a-neurodiverse-world/#c998c834baf1