I would like to use this wonderful list of 9 Things That CEOs Look For In a Job Candidate to demonstrate the problems we on the spectrum have with even getting a job.
—This is usually not a problem with people on the spectrum who can look for a job. Here we’re good.
- Attitude — Oftentimes people on the spectrum come across as negative. Or over-enthusiastic. Or both. We very often come across as having some sort of “attitude problem.” We don’t, but we also don’t necessarily know how to appropriately communicate our actual attitude.
- Motivation — One certainly wishes that this were gotten to in interviews, because the motivation of pretty much every autistic person is to work. We are dedicated, focused to the point of obsession, hard workers. We have a great deal of intrinsic motivation.
- Experience — We often don’t have a lot of experience because nobody will hire us.
- Cultural fit — Unless the culture is “autism,” we almost certainly won’t fit into your current culture. But there’s a good chance that we will change that culture. Or get fired because of it. We want to work, not fit into a social environment.
- Commitment — Hire us and you won’t get rid of us.
- Personality — There’s a good chance that we won’t be particularly likable in a first impression, and there’s a good chance you won’t get our sense of humor–or experience it in the interview. If you experience mine, it’s because I’m nervous. Let’s face it, we on the spectrum don’t come across as amiable people, and our personalities can be off-putting.
- Good references — If the references are from teachers, especially graduate school professors, we’ll probably do well. If it is from co-workers or former employees, we probably won’t.
- Ability to admit failures — Hire us so we can have some failures to learn from. Further, our failures tend to come from external sources and don’t involve our work. Or our failures stem from things we literally cannot help and which we necessarily will repeat over and over and over again.
We’re good on 1, 3, and 6. Two-thirds of the list will result in our never getting hired. Notice how many of these involve social considerations. 5 and 7 are pretty much purely social considerations. Nobody on the spectrum is ever going to be able to get through this list and be hired. As our insanely high unemployment rate shows.
This of course is how you get hired through the front door. And it’s why if you want a job, you ought to stop bothering with the front door. Get to know people doing what you want to do, then impress them. Sooner or later, one of them will offer you a job. The back door, the side door, the roof–any entrance but the front door is how you will find work. In other words, autistics will only get hired if they network. But that requires social skills . . .