"Job Interview Tips" for Teens with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

Marcus and his boss, Mr. Whitfield
The economy is pretty shaky right now, and many businesses are making some changes. For some, that might mean a job interview, which can be especially stressful for those teens with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism.

The most important thing to do before going into a job interview is to try to relax. We’re going to set up a relaxing “space” now, before the job interview, so you can use it during the interview:

Take a breath. Seriously, right now, as you read this, take a deep breath. Breathing is a way to calm yourself, move your chattering thoughts into the grounding influence of your body, and exist in the present moment. The more you can get into the habit of taking a deep, conscious breath, the more your body will connect it with slowing down and relaxing. Practicing a deep breath in a safe, calm environment will help you access those same calming feelings when you repeat the breath during your job interview. Also, it can be helpful to think of a soothing phrase like, "It’s OK." …"You’re fine." …"You can do this" (keep the phrase short, positive and silent).

As you think about and prepare for your job interview, continue to practice the breathing technique. When you get stressed about what might go wrong, take a breath and say to yourself, "It’s OK." When you remember things that went wrong in past job interviews, take a breath, calm yourself, and then figure out the lesson of that situation.

Your future employer expects you to breathe, so this calming technique is something you can use during the job interview. As you walk into the job interview room, take a breath. If you have a break during the job interview, remember to take a breath. Tell yourself, "You can do this." Of course you can!

Here are some more "job interview" tips by Marcus, a 17-year-old young man with Aspergers:

1. All the same rules apply in the workplace as they do anywhere else. But the one difference is that there is something at stake - your job. This means it is extra important to keep a clean slate, or you might be a target for scapegoating, which is a very nasty threat to your job.

2. You will meet three different kinds of people in the workplace: Meek, Assertive, and Aggressive. Aim to be the assertive type.

3. Remember that first impressions are extremely important.

4. If in doubt -- keep quiet. This is often seen as a good quality in the office.

5. If you are doing your own research, you may find yourself in a situation where you wish to patent copyright or create proof of ownership of a piece of work you have produced. The easiest thing to do is to make a copy, seal it in an envelope, and post it to your home address. It gets the date stamped on it in the post. Don't open the envelope when it arrives, but keep it sealed and stored away in a safe place. Recorded delivery may be more reliable and legally airtight. Also, keep any notes you have written while producing your work. You now have legal proof that it is your work and should not have to worry too much about it falling into the wrong hands.

6. In an interview, body language is extra important, and you want to look confident and relaxed. You are also expected to sit still with your arms by your side or on your lap and a good posture. You are expected to speak clearly and professionally.

7. Know what your skills and talents are. Like it or not, as a person with Aspergers, some jobs will be more suitable for you than others.

8. Prepare as many possible answers for as many possible questions as you can, but don't over-rehearse your answers.

9. The interviewer will often drop you a few hints towards the end of the interview (using mainly body language) to let you know whether you are likely or unlikely to get the job.

10. There are courses and classes around that teach interview techniques. You may want to take a class on this subject.

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BEST COMMENT:
Found the interview advice tips very help full. Our son is waiting to see if he has got an engineering apprenticeship. If he is offered a place, it will involve an interview with the company which may be interested in taking him on. We are keeping our fingers crossed for him. These tips may come in handy. Thanks Marcus!

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