How to Create an Inclusive Hiring Process

Companies that embrace neurodiversity and actively support neurodivergent employees are more likely to have higher employee retention.

Neuro-inclusion in the workplace has made progress, but there is still more work to do. Many neurodivergent individuals continue to experience stigma and barriers at work. Research shows that 61 percent of neurodivergent individuals have experienced stigma or felt misunderstood at some point during their careers. Also, 34 percent have experienced difficulty in recruitment and interview processes, and 32 percent have experienced lack of career progression.

A truly inclusive workplace is inclusive from front to back—from the job posting to the company culture. By considering neurodiversity in inclusion practices, employers can create a workplace where all employees can contribute and feel valued.

Creating an inclusive workplace is not only the right thing to do, it’s also good for business. Companies that embrace neurodiversity and actively support neurodivergent employees are more likely to have higher employee retention. They’re also more likely to attract a more diverse talent pool. This is important, considering many companies currently are having trouble finding the right talent.

How to Create an Inclusive Employee Journey

A truly inclusive workplace will support and encourage the different ways people think, learn, process, and contribute. Success happens when employees are encouraged to be their authentic selves and contribute in a way that is natural.

Job Description

Job descriptions are essentially a candidate’s first impression of a company. This can set the tone on how much or little the company values inclusive practices. It is important to not use words like “Rockstar” or “Ninja” in the title of the position. This can deter neurodivergent individuals from applying because they may not have the confidence to think of themselves like that.

Additionally, the requirements themselves can be off-putting. Listing “must have excellent communication skills,” “excellent writing and editing skills,” and “strong attention to detail and organizational skills,” for every position isn’t necessary and can come across as uninviting. Some jobs may need strong communication skills and attention to detail. Job descriptions should focus on the specific skills related to the actual job role.

Application Stage

A company’s online application experience can be more difficult than is necessary, especially for neurodivergent candidates. The actual design or layout of the job description matters. HR managers should avoid posting job descriptions that use small lettering and no line spacing. This format can be inaccessible for people who are neurodivergent. It creates an unwelcoming experience and increases the chances of missing out on excellent talent.

The instructions also may be unclear or use complicated language, which can discourage people who are neurodivergent. Additionally, the platform where the job is being advertised must be accessible for people with disabilities, for example, those with vision loss. It is important to consider the following:

  • All pages of the application should be able to be read by a screen reader.
  • The font and background colors should have a good color contrast.
  • The user should be able to easily enlarge text.
  • The language used should be free from jargon and be easy to understand for everyone.

These considerations are often not just beneficial to neurodivergent individuals, but for all applicants. 


The interview stage is important—and similar to the job description, language matters. Asking “Can you work in a fast-paced environment?”, “How are your writing skills?”, and “Will you need more support than other applicants?” can inadvertently deter an excellent, well-qualified neurodivergent candidate.

Hiring managers should be educated on what you can and cannot say in interviews. Always be mindful and avoid patronizing comments such as: “You’ve done so well for someone with dyslexia.” All neurodiverse brains work differently, so a personalized approach is key.


When a neurodivergent person is hired, ask what you can do to improve their experience at work. In fact, this question should be asked of all employees. Some 76 percent of people with a disability or neurodiverse condition do not fully disclose this at work. By asking all employees if and what you could do to support them, you’re not relying on anyone to self-identify. You’ll also be creating a working environment where every employee feels welcomed and valued, regardless of disability or difference.

Additional support could include factoring in extra time to complete tasks. It also could be providing literacy software that makes comprehension and communication easier. Inclusive technology can help organizations make a big impact for diversity and inclusion. Inclusivity tools support individuals to learn and achieve in their own way, and help make digital text easier to understand. The right tools that are designed for neurodivergent minds can provide support. This makes sure everyone has what they need to maximize their contributions and thrive at work.

DEI practices are no longer optional—they are a must. In order to attract and keep diverse individuals, employers must make them feel supported throughout the full employee journey.

Cathy Donnelly
Cathy Donnelly as the Chief People Officer (CPO) of Texthelp, a global leader in literacy and assistive technology. A senior HR executive with more than 25 years’ experience, Donnelly helps ensure Texthelp’s business strategy is successfully reflected across all HR activity.