Job interviews

From ActuallyAutistic Wiki

ended up writing like a short essay in this one which boils down to the importance of respecting diversity of thought on this wiki. Maybe it would be better suited to copy into another page, but not sure which?

Note from @kateapnp (hi): I wrote this page originally, and I noticed that someone went in and made some changes. While I am glad that this person wanted to contribute to the wiki and share their perspective, I see that they also chose to delete some of mine. While I recognize that anyone currently has the power to do this by the nature of this collaborative effort, and I recognize that autistic brains may favor viewing things in absolutes/"rules," I do think that it will be important moving forward for contributors of the wiki to be aware that we must account for diversity of thought.

Even though there are many ways that autistic people relate to each other which distinguish us from allistics (which is why this wiki is necessary in the first place!), autistic people may have very different experiences of certain scenarios due to various intertwined factors including diversity, culture, social groups/other communities one belongs to, geographical location, and even just random chance.

With that being said, I do not feel it is helpful at this time, in MOST circumstances, to delete someone's perspective just because it conflicts with one's own. Rather, I think we should make an effort to use language which implies that "your mileage may vary," as opposed to absolute statements such as "do *not* do X." When there are disagreements (which will be inevitable moving forward!), perhaps we should avoid simply deleting the perspectives of others (unless those perspectives are CLEARLY harmful and factually inaccurate - I am not sure if that applies to a suggestion about following up on job applications). However, anyone should feel free, and I would in fact encourage people to contribute differing perspectives. When posting conflicting information, we should try to be respectful of each others' differences. I think that it will be vitally important for this wiki to demonstrate that ALL perspectives are valid.

This is just my demand in the form of a suggestion for how I would advise we all move forward with the wiki at this early stage, and I think this speaks to a pretty crucial consideration regarding the feasibility of this project. It is inherently difficult to write a "how-to guide" to life, because there are really NO firm rules when it comes to human socialization (that's what makes it so frustratingly difficult!) Therefore, we must try to account for diversity of experiences as best as we can.

Overall, please try to keep in mind that just because YOU have had a single unfortunate experience, this does not mean that all other autistic people will "definitely" or even "most likely" have this experience. In order for this wiki to best help autistic people, I think it is vital for us all to try our very best to respect each other's unique contributions. Just like I bash the cisgen males and use many forms of stereotypes which I say I'm against, in order to prove my points throughout this wiki. Please don't be like me. YOU need to be accepting of all people.

All the best, friends.

Getting interviews[edit]

  • If you apply online through a website, depending on the employer, they may not check the applications they receive for long periods of time.
  • is a great resource, especially because it lets you know how recently the job listing was posted, and can give you updates on whether your application was read.

Following up on applications[edit]

Whether or not it is considered socially appropriate to follow up on job applications can vary depending on where you are from, what type of field you are looking for work in, and preferences of individual employers. Here is one anonymous contributor's perspective: "Do *not* follow up on an application: If the hiring officials want to talk to you, they'll contact you. Following up on an application may have been the way to job hunt back before the Internet as we know it, but nowadays it is generally being a pest."

Preparing for an interview[edit]

  • If you are nervous about answering questions, google "interview questions for [type of job]" or just "general interview questions." Practice what you will say if you are asked these questions. Write your answers down and review this right before the interview. Rehearse it with yourself, or with a friend. IF IT IS A ZOOM INTERVIEW, YOU CAN HAVE A CHEAT SHEET FOR WHAT TO SAY OPEN ON YOUR COMPUTER FOR YOUR OWN REFERENCE. Many websites give sample responses for good things to say! Don't lie, but speak as positively of yourself as possible. Buzzwords are great. "I'm really passionate about X." "I really admire your organization/mission."
  • Formulate what you will say to "Tell me about yourself." It is very likely that you will be asked at the start of the interview to describe yourself. Prepare a few sentences about why you want the job and why you think you would be a good fit (your education, qualifications, past experience, etc.)
  • Research the organization so you know what to say to the question, "Why do you want to work here?"
  • Think of questions to ask. At least around 2-3 questions is a good general rule of thumb. You can even write them down and keep them on a sticky note or small piece of paper with your resume. It is very important and expected that you will ask questions, since this demonstrates to people that you are interested in them and in the job.

General interview tips[edit]

  • There are many strange "hacks" to temporarily trick your brain into thinking you are more confident and sure of yourself than you actually are! Repeat mantras to yourself before the interview, like "I can do this" or "I am a good candidate" or "I deserve this job." See Ted Talk on "Power Posing" to briefly increase your perception of your own confidence.
  • GENERALLY, save YOUR questions for the end. They will USUALLY ask, "Do you have any questions for us?" after they finish asking you their questions. That is your cue.
  • Smile. Use nonverbal cues to convey that you are listening closely and interested/invested in what the interviewers are saying.
  • If you can't think of your answer to a question right away, it's better to admit it and even laugh than to try to hide it or say something random. "That's a great question! Hmm..." "Wow, that's a tough one. I have to think..." Saying things like this can buy you more time while also subtly complimenting the interviewer. Being honest in this way can also make you look good to them. Unfortunately, this is a delicate balance, as it can be easy to accidentally be "TOO" honest. Try not to say anything which may be interpreted as self-deprecating, like "Sorry."
  • Always try to remember to ask for the interviewers contact information/card if you do not already have it. A followup thank-you email is usually expected.
  • Many employers "ghost" interviewees...they only contact the one they decide to hire, and don't even call or email the other people they interviewed to tell them what happened. Once your interview is over and you've sent your "thank you" email / letter, you're expected to just forget about it and assume you won't be hired unless and until they contact you with an offer.

(Many people think it's rude, but if you confront a hiring official who took your time and energy to interview you and then never even sent you a rejection letter or email, s/he probably will be angry at you. Some things are rude but widely least by people with power to people without it.)