I have a penchant for alliteration. Couldn’t tell you why - something satisfies synapses, seeing such streamlined sentences. Sure, it’s the low-hanging fruit of the poetry world, but it takes a certain amount of finesse, all the same.
Let's try another one: Amanda’s autism, anxiety, and ADHD are arguably atypical attributes.
Shouldn’t stop you from hiring me, though.
On being "off-putting"
I don’t interview well. Despite 15 years of practice, I’m as fearful and awkward as ever. I struggle with eye contact. I struggle to modulate the volume of my voice. I struggle to hear what you’re saying, not necessarily because you’re not speaking loudly enough, or because of your accent, but because auditory processing is difficult for me, and made all the more difficult by delays in conferencing lines - not to mention my jumping attention span. I also have an intense aversion to seeing my own face, which makes video conferencing a fraught option on platforms where I can’t turn off my own feed. Slap a layer of general anxiety on top of all of that, and you’re probably not going to follow up with me for a second interview.
I’m not saying the world should be padded in safety foam for people like me. But I am saying you should consider how your hiring process may be biased in favor of neurotypical individuals. How your interview panel may be biased in favor of neurotypical individuals, who may find neurodiverse individuals “off-putting” in vague, intangible ways. “She has the skills. She has the experience. But there was something… weird… about her. It’s a no for me, dawg.”
I don’t have a solution to this problem. I shouldn’t have to come up with it, frankly. I’m a little busy trying to process the world in a way that doesn’t leave me curled in the fetal position trying to block it all out. Solutions are on you, hiring panels of the industry. It’s on you to get educated. To check your own biases. To look beyond a person’s perceived personality shortcomings. To research what accessibility options are available (and there are plenty) to help create an equal playing field.
On what hiring panels can do
All the same, I want to open a dialogue, so here are a few tips for improving your hiring practices in a way that is inclusive of neurodiverse individuals, gleaned from 15 years of failing to make a good first impression in interviews:
Diversity and representation are more than just buzzwords that look shiny on your studio homepage. These topics affect *real* people - their career trajectories, their available opportunities, their livelihoods, their self-worth. The latter, in particular, is already enough of a struggle when the whole world is telling you that you’re “wrong”. That you’re “broken”. That you’re “not normal”.
Still, we don’t need foam padding; we need honest dialogues. And that's mine.
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