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Aspergers Syndrome/Autism and job interviews

Discussion in 'Education and Employment' started by Droopy, Jan 28, 2011.

  1. Droopy

    Droopy Founder & Former Admin V.I.P Member

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    Has anyone been at a job interview before? I'm interested to know how you handled it and how much of a challenge it was. Did you get anxious or freeze up inside? Did you make eye contact? Did you disclose that you were on the spectrum?

    I've never had a job interview before and the thought of it is scary.

    *BTW I am not going to a job interview myself, just speaking generally.
     
  2. whale_bone

    whale_bone Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Yeah I've been to a few. The first was for a place called "Great Canadian Bagel" They asked why I wanted the job. I said It was because I really like bagels and can't really get a "real" job yet so it looked like a good option. I was 14 at the time. Did not get the job. Lesson #1: bagel shops are lame.

    The next one I applied to was a Starbuck's wannabe cafe. I was really nervous but luckily the guy interviewing me was distracted and didn't really notice, he saw I did an exchange to France and he was like: OH THAT'S COOL. What-was-that-like? I said I really liked it there and had fun learning to cook french food and learning french. blah blah blah. Apparently that was convincing. Or maybe they were just desperate. I started working the very next day.

    Phone interviews are hard for me. I'm kind of phone phobic. I'm one of those awkward-not-sure-when-to-speak phone people. And people put on funny smooth telephone-voices. Which is annoying.

    I've gotten kind of phobic about interviews in general actually. I got referred to a speech and language pathologist, so I think I'll ask to work on interview skills. Mostly my problem is I say impulsive ridiculous things when I'm nervous, [well ESPECIALLY when I'm nervous]. But I can be a stoney-faced zen-master if I'm actually working on something. Like making the most beautiful lattes the world has seen.

    If you're thinking of applying, I'd suggest applying to a bunch of places you totally don't want to work at for practice. Or convince yourself that you don't actually care about getting the job. Chances are you'll be more relaxed and it'll go smoother.
     
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  3. 142857

    142857 Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I've done lots of interviews.

    The best ones are where the job selection is based on a knowledge test or an aptitude test that is separate to the interview, and the interview is really just a chat to tell you what the job is about if you should pass the test. To be honest most of the jobs I've landed in the past 26 years have been on that basis.

    The worst are the ego-based interviews. Where you sit down and talk to people who quite likely don't really understand te job you will be doing, and the selection is based on your self confidence and how well you promote yourself as the greatest ever. I still find it hard to believe that this is the main way that many jobs are allocated in the modern world.

    You do need to be consciously aware of body language and eye-contact, and you do need to be prepared for the sort of questions that will be asked. And, if you are not the only person applying for the job, you do need to stretch the truth a bit. Because the othersz competing for the job sure as hell will be.
     
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  4. Droopy

    Droopy Founder & Former Admin V.I.P Member

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    An interview over the phone? Not a chance. I'm phone phobic too unless it's close friends or family then I'm alright at it.

    I've never been to an interview before and missed the interview skills day at school, so I'd be uncomfortable at the thought of attending an interview.

    142857, your post has some good advice. With regards to the quote above:

    Has anyone done a group interview? Do you like the thought of that? My brother once had to do one for a clothing store. They interviewed everyone as a group at the same time. It seemed like they made their decision based on personality and looks instead of who was best for the job. One of the questions they asked was "What does everyone do at the weekend?" Most replied that they went to bars/night clubs with friends. I fail to see how that question was appropriate or had any benefit in choosing the right person for the job.
     
  5. eon

    eon Jimmy The Neurotypical

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    now that i am aware of my aspie discovery... i look back and wonder about my job interviews that have been successful. i view it as simply my ability to appear as the expert, one who is very informed and worth having around, as Dr. Attwood comments is often a big strength for aspies as an extension of vocabulary and interest in words.

    i also recognize how i've been somewhat blocked or pushed out of promotions that i have gone in for or been temporarily granted... because i failed to display behavior that fit the social expectations of teammates and/or supervision, i was misperceived as uncommitted or incompetent. because i was unable to participate in the social games, i was perceived as somewhat alien and unreachable. i was even given a nickname of the android in one team-building "game" that one of my recent workgroups had done... called precise, consist, whatever else... but seeing that from where i stand now is clear that it was also a direct result of my social dis-intuition. i also received the nickname of info-ian at this job by my fellow trainees, for having aced every test and being a resource to others in the group.

    i feel that currently, aspies are a severely untapped resource and furthermore a discriminated group when it comes to workplace politics. a person's competence is measured by their physical presence.. they are expected to sell their skills via a presentation of self that is absolutely disadvantageous to those who would be most competent in any sort of detail oriented, knowledge intensive, analytical role. this bothers me on a daily basis, but also comforts me against any false regret of not having pushed myself to suffer all the way through a college degree in something worthwhile since it would all still lead to the same discriminating environments and struggles to prove my value and expertise.
     
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  6. LgndKllr24

    LgndKllr24 Well-Known Member

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    I've had a couple interviews done by phone, and they weren't too bad. One time though my phone started to give me problems and I almost lost contact with them, so that was a problem. My skills talking on the phone are better now than they used to be, given the work that I do, so I can handle that better. I actually find it's a bit less stressful because you know that they can't see what your body language is like, or things like that. The job I have now was actually one of the jobs that I interviewed for by telephone.

    I don't really like the interviews though that are conducted by panels. For the state jobs here in Nevada, that is typically what they do. There are three people doing the interview, and they take turns asking questions, and take notes. I never really know who I should be looking at when I am talking so I just talk to who asked the question. I just really hate when I know that I am being observed and scrutinized, although I guess that's not easy for a lot of people.
     
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  7. Spinning Compass

    Spinning Compass Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    It's been quite a while since I had an interview, but from what I understand, things have gotten even more competitive. I really dread losing my job and having to go out and look for work. I don't know if I would be able to get another job at my age and I would probably not qualify for disability having functioned so well in the meantime. I've sat through all kinds of presentations about interviews and resumes and selling yourself, and every single one of them assumes that every one in the audience is neurotypical! And I don't really feel comfortable asking questions that relate to Asperger's when I am in the minority. For one thing, that'd be seen as taking up all the time. For another thing, a lot of people don't understand it. Oh, they know all about Asperger kids, but somehow we all disappear when we turn 18!

    I agree that we are an undertapped resource, but from what I have seen of life, and forgive me for sounding like an old cynic, I don't think "resources" is what it is all about. What neurotypical society in general says it values and what it really values are two different things. Just look around you. It's all a game.
     
  8. jaws

    jaws Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I totally agree!!! I always try to keep in mind that a job interview works both ways. That is, you are interviewing them just as much as they are interviewing you. Be prepared, do some research on the company and be able to explain how you can help them reach their goals. Also, make sure you will feel comfortable with the people and environment you'll be working in. Ask how advancements are decided and what you would need to accomplish to advance with the company. If done correctly, you can take control of the interview and seem enthusiastic...be careful, as if done too harshly you can come across as bossy and demeaning which can cost you the job. I try to make a list of interview questions for them and ask one for every two they ask me. Practice is the key...try mock interviews with teachers, class mates, friends, family...have them specifically frustrate you, so you can learn to stay calm in an actual interview.
     
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  9. Becky

    Becky Well-Known Member

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    Had a job with Hungry Jacks. They were desperate. But the work place bullying there was terrible so I left. Plus I kept doing the same routine each time.. I can't help it sigh.

    Next 5 weeks ago I had an interview with Michelle's Patisserie. I was accepted for a trial. I stressed so much it also put me on a routine. I didn't get chosen obviously.

    Why is it so hard for an aspie like me to get a job? I need to go to a job service provider only for adults/young adults with a disability. They'll help. I know they understand.
     
  10. Bay

    Bay Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I almost always interview very well. I've got that script down after all of these years. However, after several months I can't keep up the facade of actually finding small talk interesting or the office socializing becomes completely boring (honestly it makes me want to scream, I'd rather just work, thank you very much), and the struggle begins. People begin to find me stand-offish, they can't understand why I don't want to go out with them after work, etc. It goes down hill from there, and I become overwhelmed with stress because I feel as though I am working in a hostile environment.

    Whoa. I didn't mean to let all of that out like that! Well, there you have it. I interview well and then things go south.
     
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  11. Becky

    Becky Well-Known Member

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    No it's fine. I feel the same. My friend Imogen is always asking me to go to a nightclub or a pub with her one night and I always tell her "No, alcohol ruins cells in your body. I am not risking my intelligence over alcohol." Lol
     
  12. King_Oni

    King_Oni Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Somehow I feel that I'm lucky in the sense that I never had any interviews directly with an employer.

    Especially since I don't have any degree, I'm kinda bound to apply for jobs through job agencies, and they just look at your experience, education and all that, eventually they'll call you to come over for a talk and ask if you'd like to try that job and all. In that way I prefer to be treated like a number instead of a person I guess. Because I just know when I actually have to "sell myself" and or just them judging me on how I talk, act, or just in general how I look or dress, that'll mostly likely give them an opinion about me, which in my opinion is totally biased. And that usually ends up in arguments up to point where I've been kicked out of job agencies because I just stated a few facts they didn't like... I wasn't rude, but I just questioned a lot of stuff, which I think is my right in terms of them getting correct information... yet they already thought "if he's asking this much right now, this'll go sour if he gets a job and keeps asking stuff like that".

    In The Netherlands there's a lot of "affirmative action" going on because of the big amount of immigrants. So eventually names get blocked out and stuff like that. But weirdly enough employers already drawing from that affirmative action bin already know what they're getting... I feel there should be something like that for people who are disabled in any way. Just because one doesn't have a high school diploma or doesn't have 10 years of job experience doesn't mean he's not qualified... so if anything just leave that out, expect people as a blank slate... a tabula rasa and go from there. That'll get people that actually want a job employed I feel.

    But I feel I'm diverging a bit;

    So yeah, I've had interviews, but mostly through job agencies. Send my personal information, education, previous job experience and go from there.

    Those talks in general don't make me nervous or anything. I feel that I can make myself clear in what I can and cannot do, what experience I do have, and can usually answer all their questions without a problem. WIth that I should say; I'm quite honest about it. If they ask me "what are your ambitions"... I'm not gonna tell them I want to get a management position at the company, because I really don't aspire that. I hate lying for such reasons. Weirdly enough it's what people want to hear though, even if it's totally clear that you do not have the intelectual capacity to get such a job/position. I hate how there's no reality check where they tell you "no, you can't do that".. but they will "abuse" you in the sense that you live with expectations which you can never achieve and they know it, and thus you keep yourself motivated. If I have to try really hard to keep myself motivated, I'm quite sure it's either a shitty job, or I'm at a shitty point in life... But I'm going on a tangent again, lol.
     
  13. ravendragonwing

    ravendragonwing Well-Known Member

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    Wow Bay, we could be twins LOL
    getting the job was never a problem for me, it was the keeping of said job that has always been the problem.
    sigh
    but now that I am diagnosed, I am safe (government jobs are like that)
     
  14. buckyboy14

    buckyboy14 Geo-Aspie

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    I'm worried about having job interviews. I'm still only a teenager, but I know what I want to be (a copy editor) and I'm willing to get a degree for it. I have always had outstanding grammatical and spelling abilities, finding typos everywhere I read, and I'm my school's newspaper editor, so I know that I possess the basic skills required. However, I also know that you have to be able to socialize with your peers, and while my social skills have gotten better, they're by no means perfect. I've read that you're usually given a test to see how well you can catch mistakes, but even if I ace that, I'm worried that my social skills will be my undoing.
     
  15. Loomis

    Loomis Well-Known Member

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    Interviews get easier the more you do them. Try to think of them as information exchanges and not as socializing. I am often told in interviews that I am very serious. I have no doubt that is true but it is OK. I have limited facial expressions and that's OK too in interviews. It is my experience, and I have had dozens of interviews, that the interviewer is looking for your ability to do the job and usually they are not interested in your social skills. The social skill thing only comes into play after you get the job. One thing you must learn, however, is how to look people in the eye. If you don't, NTs think you are hiding something. You can develop this skill by looking near people's eyes instead of into them. Look between their eyes or at their eyebrows and look away every now and then. Good Luck.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2012
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  16. Bay

    Bay Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    What Loomis says about looking people in the eyes is very true. As for social skills, perhaps you can find someone who knows about your Asperger's who can coach you a bit? In interviews I always try to do my homework beforehand and try to ask questions about the company or organization, something that lets the interviewer know that I have made an effort to learn about the work that they do. That counts as a social skill. Most people are proud of what they do, so a little discrete flattery about the company may do wonders. "I read that you have worked on XYZ. That must have been fascinating. What sort of issues did you encounter?" That sort of thing.
     
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  17. buckyboy14

    buckyboy14 Geo-Aspie

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    Thank you, Loomis and Bay! That helps me a lot!
     
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  18. JustRosy

    JustRosy Well-Known Member

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    I've floundered a LOT because of not understanding what was meant by the questions job interviewers were asking me. I've tried going through the DVR (Department of Vocational Rehabilitation) but they are taking WAY too long to help me. My family disowned me, and none of my friends can help, I'm on unemployment and that's running out soon, and I just keep "blowing" job interviews because of answering their questions wrong, because I think the mean other things than they really do by their questions. Anyway, I just found this page and wanted to share it here, in case it will help anyone else. It gives the intentions of the interviewers, as well as good information about the circumstances and so forth:

    Common Interview Questions and Answers | Monster
     
  19. Acetic

    Acetic Well-Known Member

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    I just had my first two interviews 4 days ago. To be honest it went horrible and great at the same time.

    I had two days to prepare for the interview but when i sat down to talk my mind literally froze. I spent the first ten seconds awkwardly staring in silence, then i kept on stumbling over my words, correcting myself, and pausing in the middle of my sentences. I had practiced what i would say to basic questions before, but i literally forgot everything. I tried to relax and loosen up and smile but my mouth would just twitch; i had this heavy gut feeling of fear and panic in my stomach. The worst part is that throughout the interview the manager kept on giving me these looks and smirking, like she thought i was pathetic. In the end i felt like i had gone jogging, i was sweating so much. This sounds like i'm exaggerating, but this is actually what happened; ive never been to an interview before and was scared ****less. However to my surprise, she told me to arrive the next day for another interview.

    The second interview i decided i really needed to prove that i was confident, happy and a hard working person. I didn't practice any of my answers to questions and focused on being energetic, happy and fun. And i don't know how i did it, but i am amazed at how well i acted the fake "social and relaxed" role. I made the manager laugh, we talked about her career, where she thought the company was going, etc. That was two days ago, and now i'm waiting to hear back from her.

    I'm not sure if i will be hired, but i feel a little less nervous about interviews now. Still, i'm really worried i won't get the job, i hope all this emotional torture and roller coaster was for something.
     
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  20. Alfie

    Alfie Well-Known Member

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    Hope u got the job. I been on 25 interviews & still no job. The last interview was with my former employer in the same department. With a new hiring manager. My old manager is no longer a manager. I left for career growth. When I interviewed I thought it went well. There were no direct questions, mostly vague & indirect questions. I just finished getting a master certificate in my field in a major university, I have a masters degree & 7 years in the army. When I was informed by email I was not selected because i answered the questions all wrong according to the recruiter and I am awkward. The question to me were not direct, she asked questions from a regulation if 3000 pages. I so upset cryer for 2 days,