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Neurodiversity and Talent

By July 29, 2021September 5th, 2023Diversity and Inclusion

Neurodiversity is an invisible diversity with unique strengths like hyper focus or being detail orientedWe have so many more diversities beyond just what we physically see. Recently, we discussed how diversities can come in both visible and invisible forms. Now we’ll highlight neurodiversity – a type of invisible diversity. More specifically, how neurodiverse candidates can thrive in specific work environments despite their common struggle to make it through the recruitment process.

People on the spectrum or with other neurodiversities can often find the interviewing process challenging. As we learn more about types of neurodiversities, you’ll see that each type can possess unique strengths. As an employer, understanding neurodiversity can help ensure you aren’t missing out on candidates who could truly thrive in your organization!

What is Neurodiversity?

Neurodiversity refers to the range of differences in individual brain functions and behavioral traits with regards to the normal variation in the human population (we know, it sounds very scientific). In other words, it encapsulates how some people’s thought processes significantly differ from what society deems “normal.”

Put even more simply, neurodiversity is a difference in thinking styles.

We use the term “neurodiverse” because it removes the stigma of calling it a disability. Though some on the spectrum may struggle with certain societal norms and skills, they also excel in other areas.

Neurodiversity creates an amazing variation of humans and can be extremely valuable when recognized.

Types of Neurodiversity

There are infinite differences in how the human brain can function. Meaning, there are countless types of neurodiversities. Please keep in mind, within each, there are also different variants or scales of severity.

Here are some common types:

  1. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) 
  2. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) 
  3. Dyslexia 
  4. Dyspraxia 
  5. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  6. Tourette’s Syndrome
  7. Social Anxiety Disorders

These are just a few of the more prevalent neurodiversities. There are so many more neurodiversities out there, but don’t worry. We aren’t expecting you to know them all!

Neurodiversity in the Population StatisticsNeurodiversity in the Workforce

While neurodiversity is a newer concept, many people are neurodiverse.

In fact, stats may not even accurately represent the neurodiverse population in the workforce. Most types are undiagnosed and go unknown and untreated. 

Currently, newer generations are getting diagnosed at higher numbers but that doesn’t mean the number of neurodiverse individuals is actually increasing. It just means more people are getting tested and getting diagnosed. 

The Value of Neurodiverse Employees

Historically, these diagnoses may have been seen as a disability but neurodiverse employees often can offer companies a competitive advantage. Neurodiverse employees can provide a different perspective and think in new ways to solve problems.

In today’s tight candidate market, recognizing and encouraging this, can be a competitive advantage!  Here are some considerations to function, strengths and possibilities:

However, it’s important to recognize that not everyone with these neurodiversities has all or these exact strengths. These are general strengths that are typically found.

Challenges of Neurodiverse Candidates

However, while neurodiverse employees can offer companies competitive advantages, many neurodiverse applicants struggle to make it past the recruiting process. For example, difficulty understanding job ads and completing job applications. Other challenges may include, communication and social interaction during interviews.

In an upcoming blog, we will be sharing tips for creating a more inclusive recruiting process for neurodiverse candidates! Subscribe to our email list below or follow us on LinkedIn to get notified when we post!

Additional Resources:

Embracing Neurodiversity in the Workplace

Neurodiversity is a Competitive Advantage


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