For more details, see our information on recruiting and managing autistic employees.

A new vacancy is a great opportunity to think creatively about whether you are getting the best from your existing staff and make any changes that weren’t practical to make beforehand. However, all staff may benefit from flexibility and an open approach and it can help build staff morale. A new vacancy may make an adjustment for an existing disabled employee practical and reasonable, where previously it may have been impractical, and therefore not reasonable.

If you've been thinking about being more inclusive to neurodiverse people, now is the time. Like everyone else, we have specific needs and we may have challenges – but those are far, far outweighed by the enormous benefits.

Rachel Morgan-Trimmer - Article on Neurodiversity

Defining a new vacancy gives an opportunity to think about inclusion, while also being subject to the legal duty to make reasonable adjustments. Being clear on the skills and experience you are looking for and why, will help your whole recruitment process run more smoothly with less chance of dispute and disagreement. Don’t include criteria that aren’t relevant to doing the job. For example requiring a driving licence, or a degree for a job where alternative travel arrangements might be possible or specialist knowledge aren’t essential, can lead to unintended discrimination or not attracting the candidate who might be perfect for your organisation.

The application process must be accessible to disabled people, whether at the onset or after making reasonable adjustments to the process to avoid disadvantaging disabled applicants. Some employers include a box on the application form or instruction in the job advertisement asking disabled applicants to explain if they need any reasonable adjustments to the application process. This question can be useful for some, but unless they are provided with the full details of every stage in the selection and recruitment process it won’t always be possible for disabled people to know what adjustments might need to be made to processes they don’t know about. Therefore, just because an applicant does not specify a need for a reasonable adjustment, that does not mean there will not be a duty to make adjustments.

The assessment process, choosing from shortlisted candidates typically this involves a face to face interview. An interview might be an essential assessment tool for a public facing role or within in a rapidly changing environment. But it might also be an unnecessary barrier to finding the best person for a job where high pressure face to face communication isn’t a major part of the job. Within our recruitment and employment guidance, there are examples of some alternatives to a traditional, formal interview which might be helpful in certain situations. These examples will assist in making reasonable adjustments during the assessment process such that an employer can avoid disability discrimination.

Individual adjustments for autistic applicants may still be required and you should provide a simple, accessible way for all disabled applicants or potential applicants to discuss adjustments and requirements in a process that is fully separate from the selection process. Be aware that some individuals may not know exactly what adjustments are required to avoid them being disadvantaged, particularly if they have a recently acquired disability or diagnosis.