Q: How should one go about communicating to an interviewer a brief summary of the world of Asperger’s Syndrome?
This is a really great question. There is a saying that goes: if you’ve met one person with Aspergers . . . you’ve met one person with Aspergers. I believe this statement is also true of how we communicate Asperger’s syndrome in the workplace.
As I have referenced in previous posts, it is important to do an inventory assessment of what skills and abilities you can bring to the workplace. The reason this is done is so that you can tell an employer exactly what you have to offer them.
It is also best to tell the employer what you need to be successful, and oftentimes I have found that the employer appreciates when expectations are set. When I have gone to interviews with my young adults with Asperger’s, I usually (if they are comfortable with it) go to talk to the interviewer beforehand, and give a brief explanation of that person’s communication style and needs so that expectations are set for the interview.
The following PDF from Antioch University contains a list that may be helpful when you are thinking of the strengths and weaknesses you bring to the workplace.
You really want to emphasize your amazing strengths and how that will benefit them. Employers always want to know how they will benefit.
Possible strengths include:
- Attention to detail
- Good concentration on routines and procedures
- Memory for facts and figures
- Logical approach to tasks
Possible challenges include:
- Social interactions
- Intense focus on limited interests
- Troubles with empathy
A good way to emphasize your strengths is in a “Tell Me About Yourself” commercial. This is a short self-written blurb about yourself, and what you can do for the company. I have realized that the more you are able to communicate your needs, the more the interviewer is put at ease. This sets a good tone for the interview.
No one knows your needs better than yourself. Having a plan for success before the interview that includes your own knowledge of your skills, abilities, strengths, and weaknesses will make the interview process much smoother. In this way, the employer can support you beforehand, and it will make them more comfortable and easier for them to support you in long term employment.
I have attached two templates to download and fill out that can help you in your preparation for a job interview:
Maggie earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal and Fine Arts with a Major in Communication/Public Relations and a Minor in Non Profit Management from the University of Texas at San Antonio. She has worked for Compass Resource Group since 2011. She assists adults in Texas with disabilities in achieving their employment goals by providing training, job placement assistance, environmental work assessments, social skills training, and job coaching. She has been instrumental in shaping the services at Compass Resource Group to meet the needs of young adults on the Autism Spectrum who are transitioning from high school. She is a member of the DARS Statewide Developmental Disorders Team