How to find, hire and develop tech talent

It’s estimated that there are over 5 million new web pages written and published every single day. The rise of cheap ultra fast internet and cheap ultra fast devices means that careers in technology have exploded in recent years across Canada. Anyone with an idea and a solid business model can start their own online business, but only those with an eye on successful employment trends will be able to expand and grow with the ever changing technological landscape.

Autism as the competitive edge

With the increase in the number of technology related careers comes an increase in the number of well qualified job applicants. It can be hard to tell the difference between many of these jobseekers, so you need to explore a different talent pool to help your company get a competitive edge. This is where you need to join corporate behemoths like JP Morgan Chase, Microsoft and SAP by hiring neurodiverse employees. Some of the many competitive benefits you’ll get from an autistic worker include high levels of concentration and focus, the ability to see patterns in complex data sets and true out of the box thinking when it comes to systems analysis. 

Finding Autistic Technology Talent

Given that autistic workers consistently produce high quality work and performance, it can seem baffling that only 20% of the adult autistic population in British Columbia are in employment. Part of the issue is finding high quality autistic workers to apply for jobs. Posting on job boards or in the local papers are poor ways to find your next superstar. The best way to find autistic workers is by finding autism specific job boards online, and by linking up with autism tech and talent agencies in Vancouver like Focus who specialize in being able to find the most qualified neurodiverse candidates for your position. 

Hiring Autistic Technology Talent

Once you’ve found autistic jobseekers to apply for your role, you then need to examine your hiring processes, as many of them will be heavily weighted towards neurotypical applicants. For example, even the act of writing a job advert provides an advantage to those who are able to read between the lines and write an application that deals in the future and abstract concepts. 

One of the biggest changes that you can make to get the best autistic talent on your team is to move to task based or group interviews. Research has shown over and over that the formal face to face interview is an incredibly poor predictor of good job performance, and this is true no matter what your brain type. A task based interview will allow your autistic applicants to show off their organizational and time management skills, while a group task will give you the opportunity to assess their social skills and interactions. Again, the autism experts at Focus can help you to harness more inclusive hiring practices to get the autism competitive edge. 

Developing Autistic Technology Talent

Finally, you’ll need to work out how to develop your autistic talent once you’ve signed them up. One of the hallmark traits for many autistic workers is a slower than usual processing time for new skills. This means that you’ll need to find different ways to help nurture and build their technology skill set:

  • Online training – where you are able to give your autistic employee the opportunity to self pace their own learning online, you’ll see the biggest rewards. Autistic people tend to struggle when they feel that they have to keep pace with their neurotypical colleagues, so try to find or create online training modules that can be repeated and revisited as frequently as necessary.
  • Shadowing – autistic workers tend to deal in the concrete and the specific, so merely talking and describing how to do a new task is unlikely to lead to long lasting change. By giving them the opportunity to shadow someone doing the exact (or similar) task, with the ability to ask clarifying questions, you’re setting them up for long term success. 
  • Side by side coaching – a final strategy for developing competence in your autistic workers is to assign a personal coach or mentor to work alongside them. This person takes temporary line management responsibility and gives immediate and the spot feedback as your employee learns new tasks and routines. 

Learning how to find, hire and develop autistic technology talent in Vancouver isn’t easy, which is why teaming up with Focus is an easy decision. Our team of autism experts will work with you and your hiring team to find high quality autistic talent and train them up to become your next technology superstars.

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