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Thursday, May 31, 2018

Microsoft and Autism

In The Politics of Autism, I discuss the employment of adults with autism and other developmental disabilities. Many posts have discussed programs to provide them with training and experience.

Karen Higginbottom at Forbes:
One of the first big corporates to recruit individuals with ASD was Microsoft which started its “Inclusive Hiring for People with Disabilities” program three years ago in the US.

“Our goal is to help reduce the unemployment rate for people with autism. People with autism are under-employed and we have roles that would be good for people on the spectrum,” explains Neil Barnett, director of inclusive hiring for the software giant.

Microsoft’s program recruits for technical roles such as a software engineer and data scientists. “We’re looking for individuals with attention to detail and problem-solving skills and that is a sweet spot in technical roles. Our current program is based in our headquarters in Silicon Valley but we have plans to extend it outside the US,” said Barnett.

One of the after-effects of Microsoft’s program has been to encourage self-disclosure among existing employees, added Barnett.

Microsoft has adjusted its recruitment process to accommodate candidates with ASD, explains Barnett.
"At the traditional interview process it’s one day but for the program it’s now five days. We’re really trying to get to know the individual and let them showcase their talent. It’s about getting to know the candidate and work on team-building and then on day three, we do a mock-interview where we give feedback to the candidate. Of the people we bring in to the Redmond Campus to interview about 50% will get hired.”