It is helpful to know what the interview process is going to be to do well and reduce the potential for anxiety.

Preparation is key!

Devoting time to preparing for the interview helps you by:

  • Reducing your anxiety: It is impossible to eliminate anxiety, but having an idea of what you think an interviewer might ask you about and/or what you’d like to tell them can help. For other tips on reducing anxiety relating to the interview itself, see the section below on 'Attending the Interview'.
  • Improving your chance of getting the job: devoting some time to identify some great examples of experience or skills you have that make you the right employee for them, will help you to talk about them more confidently during the interview
  • Making it easier to transition into the role if you’re successful: Being fully prepared means that you’ll also be ready to ask key questions to help you increase your understanding of the work.

Everyone gets nervous in interviews whether they are autistic or not. To reduce your anxiety, try to prepare as much as possible in advance. The following lists contain suggestions for how to prepare.

I generally research a job well before I go to an interview so that I am able to work out what the questions are likely to be - that way, I can prepare answers

Kevin - Autistic employee

Thinking about the interview:

  • Consider asking for reasonable adjustments - to help you through the process. Adjustments could include visiting the interview location in advance, reducing the number of people in the room at the interview or receiving the questions beforehand. A longer list of possible adjustments is shown in our section below on 'Reasonable adjustments for interviews'. 

You can only ask for reasonable adjustments if you have disclosed that you are autistic or have a disability
(see our section above 'I am applying for work' on disclosing that you are autistic)

  • Re read the advert, job description and/or person specification - to remind you what they are looking for
  • Based on the information you have about the job, organisation and selection process write down questions you know or think you may be asked – now work out how you will answer those questions, so you’re prepared when they are asked in the interview. If you haven’t been able to obtain questions in advance and can’t imagine the types of questions you may be asked, you can use our download on to help think about common interview questions and how to answer them
  • Practice being interviewed - get a friend or job coach to practice the interview with you in advance – use the questions you’ve identified. Afterwards, ask them to be honest with you regarding what you did well and should keep doing, and whether there’s anything you should change. You don’t have to act on their advice, but if 2 or 3 people give you similar feedback – either positive or negative – it’s probably worth paying attention.
  • Practice the handshake - You should take a hand that is offered, palm to palm, shake it firmly and make eye contact as you do so (but only if it isn’t painful to you). If you aren’t comfortable shaking hands, you should let the interviewer know beforehand while arranging the interview
  • Think of some questions for the interviewer - about the role or the company, so that you can ask them when invited to ask any questions you may have during the interview. This helps to show them that you are interested in the role
  • Ask who will be interviewing you – look them up on Linkedin as they may have a photo which will help you recognise them on the day. You may also be able to learn a little more about what they do from their Linkedin profile.

Prepare for the interview day and the journey:

  • Follow as much of your normal routine as possible, ideally including some exercise you normally do (provided you can fit it in before the interview without being late).
  • Take your sensory kit in your bag including things that you find soothing. The contents should be whatever helps you. You might include:
    • Headphones and music on your phone or iPod,
    • Book
    • A snack
    • A drink (preferably with a straw)
    • Fidget toy
    • A small piece of material with a texture you like
    • A picture of your favourite thing
    • Don’t include anything that is likely to burst or spill.
  • Check the date, time and place of the interview. If the interview instructions are vague or you have any questions, contact the person who sent the instructions straight away and ask them to clarify anything that is unclear.
  • Find where the interview will be held
    • Look it up on google maps
    • Go to street view to see what the building looks like, so you recognise it
    • Use directions to plan your route to get there and how to get home again afterwards
    • Plan to arrive early to allow for problems with travel
    • If possible, rehearse the journey in advance – especially if that is also where you will be working
  • Take the interview invitation letter or email with you to show when you arrive and to remind you of the details
  • Take any notes you have made about the organisation, role or interview in case you want to review these once you are on the way
  • Follow any instructions you have been given for the interview, for example, make sure you bring anything that you have been asked for, this may be examples of your work, identification or certificates.

Read any information they have sent you about the interview in full, it may give useful information on the format or structure of the interview