Contribution from freelance writer Lucy Wyndham
Every once in a while, the Leka Team is happy to welcome external contributors and share their food for thoughts. This post has been written by Lucy Wyndham whose husband is on the spectrum.
The current job market can be tough for anyone, but it can be especially challenging for teens on the autism spectrum who are seeking their first job. Young adults with ASD are more likely to find themselves unemployed than the rest of the population, often through no fault of their own. This is in part because many autistic individuals have trouble navigating the initial hiring process. An upcoming interview can be nerve-wracking for a teen with ASD, especially if they’re not sure what to expect. As a parent, you can show your child that while finding a job can be challenging, it doesn’t have to be frightening. Here are a couple of tips on how you can help your teen to begin and end their interview on a positive note.
Get Paperwork in Order
There are several items that you should be sure to bring along to an interview with a potential employer. When your teen is starting their first job search, you can help them to get organized and collect everything that they need in a folder for later convenience. That way, they aren’t stressing and scrambling to find essential documents the day before their interview. The most important items to bring along include:
- Two copies of an up-to-date resume. One will be for your teen to reference during their interview, while one is for their interviewer.
- A list of contact information and personal details. This can help teens to correctly and accurately fill out a job application on-site if necessary.
- A form of photo ID, such as a driver’s license or passport. Many jobs require new hires to provide identification.
- A list of questions to ask the interviewer.
Stage Practice Sessions
One of the best ways to ease stress about an upcoming interview is to practice. You can help to alleviate your teen's anxiety about an interview by going over common questions. This also gives your teen a chance to rehearse appropriate answers. If necessary, you can help to act as a guide and mentor, showing your teen what employers are looking for with common interview questions such as:
- Why do you want this job?
- What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
- What sets you apart from other applicants?
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
- What is your greatest professional or personal accomplishment?
Offer Support and Reassurance
No matter what the outcome of an interview, as a parent, it’s important to show your child sensitivity and support. Let them know that it’s okay to fail, and not every job interview is going to go smoothly. As long as you continue to show support, your teen will have an easier time staying positive and motivated. Interviews will also become easier and less stressful over time as your child learns what to expect out of the process.
While searching for a job can be challenging for autistic teens, parents can help to make the process a little bit less stressful. By teaching your teen how to ace an interview, you can help them on the road towards professional success. Learning how to impress employers is one of the first steps towards climbing the corporate ladder in any field.