While ADHD can present several challenges for those who live with it, several reasonable accommodations can be made to help level the playing field for job applicants with ADHD. With creativity and forethought, employers can make hiring more accessible for everyone involved. Here are five examples of reasonable accommodations for job applicants with ADHD:
Provide an environment that is quiet and distraction-free
ADHD can make it tougher to focus in environments that are noisy or full of distractions. When meeting with job applicants with ADHD, employers should provide a quiet space where the applicant can feel comfortable and focused on the task. This may mean scheduling meetings in a private office or conference room, away from the hustle and bustle of the main work area. Alternatively, employers could provide an option to have the meeting via video conference to allow the applicant to be in a space that works best for them. And if an in-person meeting is necessary, employers should provide accommodations, such as noise-canceling headphones, to help the applicant focus.
Offer flexible meeting times
Many people with ADHD find their symptoms worse at certain times of the day. For example, between 2 to 4 pm is often referred to as the “witching hour,” Individuals diagnosed with ADHD may have a harder time focusing and may be more likely to experience fatigue. As such, it’s important to be flexible when scheduling meetings with job applicants with ADHD. If possible, avoid scheduling meetings during times when the applicant is likely to experience symptoms. Alternatively, if a meeting occurs during a challenging time of day, employers could consider breaking the meeting into shorter chunks or allowing for more frequent breaks.
Giving clear instructions
This one may sound apparent, but it’s worth it: people with ADHD often have difficulty following instructions that are long, complicated, or given all at once. For example, an employer might ask a job applicant with ADHD to “complete this form, print it out, then bring it to the meeting tomorrow at 11 am before we go over your resume.” This request will likely overwhelm the applicant, who may have difficulty completing all the steps in time. A better way to give instructions would be to break them down into smaller, more manageable pieces: “Complete this form and print it out. We’ll go over your resume at the meeting tomorrow.” This way, the applicant can chew on one task at a time without feeling overwhelmed.
Allow for flexible deadlines
Similar to the need for flexible meeting times, people with ADHD may also require flexible deadlines to be successful. It sounds complicated but pretty simple: Say an employer asks a job applicant with ADHD to submit a writing sample by the end of the day. The applicant may have difficulty meeting this deadline if they feel particularly symptomatic that day. In this case, giving the applicant a longer timeframe would be more supportive, such as “by the end of the coming friday or next Monday,” or “by next Monday.”. This will give the applicant the breathing room they need to complete the task without feeling overwhelmed.
Encourage open communication
One of the best approaches to accommodating a person with ADHD is encouraging open communication. This means creating an environment where the person feels comfortable asking for help or clarification without fear of judgement. It also means hearing about the person’s challenges and any accommodations they might need to succeed. Creating this environment will go a long way in ensuring everyone feels comfortable and respected.
So these are just a few examples of reasonable accommodations that can be made for job applicants with ADHD. By making these small changes, employers can level the playing field and ensure everyone has a fair chance of getting the job they want.