Study on neurodiverse individuals in job interviews and customer relations

Header Graphics
5 Jan 2021

Approximately 58% of young adults with autism have ever worked between high school and their early 20s (Roux, Shattuck, Rast, Rava, & Anderson, 2015)This group is disproportionately under-employed compared to their peers without such a diagnosis; young adults with Autism have far lower rates of employment than their peers. The advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming rehabilitation practices and providing responsive and adaptive tools benefiting neurodiverse job applicants, such as preparing for job interviews and improving performance in the interview process.

Cornell University researchers have been gathering qualitative data on the barriers and facilitators of job acquisition and retention for Autistic individuals (Bruyere, Chang & Saleh, 2020),[2] with a specific focus on improving Autistic individuals’ performance in the interview process and within the work environment (as well as gaining insights for how employers may alter their interview practices). Results of interviews with employers, individuals on the autism spectrum, and employment service providers consistently identified that interviewees often struggled with the interview process in specific ways – incompletely answering questions (giving “yes/no” answers to open-ended questions), struggling to understand the context of unstructured questions (e.g., “tell me about yourself”), managing and regulating emotion to unexpected events or questions during the course of an interview. Employers, service providers, and Autistic individuals all described the need for more coaching and practice with both the social interaction and emotion management components of the interview as well as the substantive aspects of the interview (demonstrating requisite skills and knowledge).



[1] Roux, Anne M., Shattuck, Paul T., Rast, Jessica E., Rava, Julianna A., and Anderson, Kristy A. National Autism Indicators Report: Transition into Young Adulthood. Philadelphia, PA: Life Course Outcomes Research Program, A.J. Drexel Autism Institute, Drexel University, 2015.

[2] Bruyère, S.M., Chang, H-Y, & Saleh, M.C. (2020). Preliminary Report Summarizing the Results of Interviews and Focus Groups with Employers, Autistic Individuals, Service Providers, and Higher Education Career Counselors on Perceptions of Barriers and Facilitators for Neurodiverse Individuals in the Job Interview and Customer Interface Processes. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University, ILR School, K. Lisa Yang and Hock E. Tan Institute on Employment and Disability.