Interview Tips

Ready to Hire? Ready, Willing and Able (RWA) is here to help. Interviews can be daunting for everyone, no matter what side of the table you are sitting on. Here are some tips to make the experience easy for both employers and job seekers.

Avoid Distractions

In an interview setting, interruptions can throw off a candidate’s focus and confidence. Try to be aware of potential distractions in your workspace and how you can avoid them. Here’s a brief checklist:

  • Ensure desk and mobile phones are silenced
  • Let key team members know you are not to be interrupted
  • Mark any entranceways with an “Interview in Progress” sign
  • If possible, host the discussion in a quiet space with soft lighting—nothing overly bright and ensure there are no flickering lights

Use Direct Language

You can improve the quality of your interview by keeping your language straightforward and job-related. Here are some items to keep in mind:

  • Avoid small talk, keep the discussion to specific job-related questions
  • Use closed questions that require straightforward answers
  • Remove clichés, pop culture references, or non-literal expressions, unless they are necessary to the job
  • Leave extra time in the event the interview runs long
  • Avoid making assumptions or asking unnecessary questions about the candidate’s abilities, unless relevant to the position
When adding an individual with an intellectual disability or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to your team, working together is the easy part. A candidate may find the hiring process more challenging than the work itself, because of the various social and communication skills needed to successfully
complete the interview.

Candidates who have an intellectual disability or ASD may struggle with “selling themselves”, articulating their past experience effectively, or getting enthusiastic about a role. Making small talk, reading body language, and understanding the amount of detail that an interviewer is looking for can be difficult.

Tweak the Traditional Interview

Although common, the traditional boardroom ‘Q&A’ interview is not always the best way to assess if a candidate is suited for a role. Here are some adjustments you can make to better evaluate if an applicant is the right fit for the job:

  • Consider an alternate interview setting, such as going for a walk or an informal setting rather than an office
  • Consider offering an interview that allows the candidate to demonstrate their skills and strengths through performing some of the core tasks related to the job
  • Avoid pre-screening candidates by telephone as an in-person interview makes it easier for both parties to communicate clearly and effectively
  • Provide an interview itinerary to guide the candidate through the discussion
  • Consider the “whole applicant” before the interview. Make notes on their work history and experience in advance of the conversation, in case they do not bring up these experiences

Declining A Candidate

While RWA will try to match job seekers with the right employment opportunities, we also know that every match may not be perfect. Like all candidates you consider, those who have an intellectual disability or ASD are aware that the interview process does not guarantee a job. You need not fear having to decline an RWA candidate.

Declining any interviewee should be a smart decision for both you and the candidate. From a business perspective, it should work for your organization’s productivity and team culture. Just as you would in any other circumstance, if a candidate does not fit the role, do not feel obligated to hire them.

Give clear and honest feedback to the candidate using plain and direct language, and provide constructive suggestions that will help with future job applications and interviews.