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How auticon’s hiring process accommodates neurodiverse candidates

By Jack Campbell | |5 minute read
How auticon’s hiring process accommodates neurodiverse candidates

Auticon is an IT consultancy with a 70 per cent autistic workforce. CEO and managing director of auticon Australia and New Zealand, Bodo Mann, joined The HR Leader to discuss how their hiring process accommodates for neurodiverse candidates.

“We designed a very specific recruitment process which is different to what we would experience as part of a neurotypical recruitment process. It's not the competency-based interviews, it's much more loose and much more practical and experience based,” said Mr Mann.

The process involves a more hands on approach to let candidates prove they’re qualified for the job, rather than tell you they are. This involves coding challenges, or chats to see where coding experience began, followed by a three-day workshop.


“We simulate a client situation and we build it around the case study. And so, the individuals then form a team and they present back to me. I play the role of the CEO, and they present their recommendation to a real-life business problem,” explained Mr Mann.

“As in any good case study, there's no right or wrong in terms of the answer, but what we want to see is how they work as part of a team and how they derive to a particular recommendation.”

Mr Mann notes that attracting neurodiverse talent may also require a different approach.

“In order to identify those individuals, a lot of them come to us as a result of the social media and the articles we put out there. A fair [amount] of the candidates I introduce internally through word of mouth.”

Mr Mann continued: “We did establish strong relationship with various medical professionals, so psychiatrists, psychologists, universities. We established some good relationships with some autism associations, … and then we increasingly started developing a relationship with tertiary education organisations.”

Auticon kindly provided statistics from autism speaks: “Nearly half of 25-year-olds with autism have never held a paying job, and global estimates range as high as 85 percent unemployment or underemployment.” Shifting traditional hiring methods to be more accommodating for neurodiverse candidates could help to reduce this divide.

“You have some really smart individuals who are completely underutilised because of a whole array of challenges they were exposed to, whether it was bullying, being accepted, or being made redundant,” he said.

Mr Mann continued: “The very tailor-made and autism-friendly approach certainly helps, but we still have the challenge in terms of when we talk to corporates because some of the corporates, obviously they're used to that very neurotypical recruitment process.”

The transcript of this podcast episode, when quoted above, was slightly edited for publishing purposes. The full audio conversation with Bodo Mann is below, and the original podcast article with references can be found here.




The practice of actively seeking, locating, and employing people for a certain position or career in a corporation is known as recruitment.

Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell

Jack is the editor at HR Leader.