As the often used adage goes; A one-size fits all approach does not work for everyone. So why do so many employers still rely so heavily on formal interviews to fill roles and choose the right candidate? Due to the nature of interviews, they often favour those who are able and comfortable creating a repertoire with interviewers, whether they have the necessary on the job skills or not. For autistic adults, interviews can be a real barrier to work (According to the latest statistics only 17% of autistic adults are in full-time employment). This means that neurotypical individuals have a huge advantage over those who are non-neurotypical in the interview process.

As an autistic adult, I build up my own confidence with interviews through placements and I can safely say am definitely a lot better than I used to be. However, for many autistic candidates, the struggle to ‘sell themselves’ in an interview is a reality, even if they have all the right skills. Indeed, this is something I am still not naturally perfect at.

An interesting piece by The New York Times appeared in April this year which highlighted an interesting study on the effectiveness of interviews. They came to the conclusion that not only can they be irrelevant: They can be harmful, undercutting the impact of other, more valuable information about individuals.

In her 2015 book; Work Rules, Google’s senior vice president of people operations, Laszlo Bock, also talks about the effectiveness of interviews.

“Most interviews are a waste of time,” she writes, “because 99.4% of the time is spent trying to confirm whatever impression the interviewer formed in the first 10 seconds.”

Here is my first idea of how to make the interview process easier for those who struggle, including autistic individuals.

1) Bring in an object to represent a hobby or interest. 

A problem I sometimes have with interviews is getting in the flow of talking, particularly if I am extra anxious that day. So why not let an interviewee start the conversation by letting them talk about something they love. For me, this would perhaps be one of my favourite films; my VHS of the Lion King is an important part of my film collection. Friends and family have often said that I am able to speak more confidently about something I am passionate about; in fact, sometimes I talk too much about it!

Lion King

This could also be a good way of getting your personality across without the pressure of formal questions thrown in the mix such as Tell Me about Yourself. For those with autism, this question can be too vague and often make the interviewee unsure about what to say and therefore cause unnecessary anxiety.

Keep an eye out for more of my ideas in my upcoming blogs.

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This is my review I did of a showing of the film at Chapter Arts Centre for Buzz Magazine. 

If I had to describe The Red Turtle in one word, that word would be intriguing.

Turtle-Fishing.0

 

To try and synopsize it as a simple tale of a shipwrecked man and the red turtle he encounters would not only be a disservice to the film’s wondrous visual complexity but it’s universal themes. Those used to the computer-animated adventures of our favourite Pixar characters and heroes might initially view its style and approach to storytelling as unusual. If you are even the slightest fan of the work of its co-producers, Studio Ghibli, however, then its appearance will most likely be more enjoyable, though no less impressive.

In the opening scene our shipwrecked character is clinging onto life among huge animated waves; a moving image straight out of the imagination of the iconic Japanese woodblock painter Katsushika Hokusai.

We meet the titular red turtle as it thwarts our castaway’s attempts to escape the tropical island he finds himself on. After it’s death at the hands of the castaway and his reflective grief we are transported into a surreal journey and exploration of nature and life itself, a combination of captivating visual and narrative strokes. In an age of loud and brash summer blockbusters, the beauty of The Red Turtle lies in its refusal to force a specific message onto viewers. Everyone can interpret it in their own way, at their own pace and enjoy its subtle touches. This includes an amusing Greek chorus of scuttling crabs.

This is not to say the film is free from it’s dramatic and awe-inspiring moments; the brute power of nature and it’s destructive potential are also very apparent in one particular sequence. And so to be found within this ambiguity, there is also a clear, simple and profound core message which unifies all these elements, surrounding the cyclical nature of life, death and rebirth. There are also broader ecological themes which you will find in many of Ghibli’s own past output. This includes their early 1984 animated masterpiece, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. 

As such, it is fitting that its finely observed gestures and crisp visual storytelling should also remind us of silent cinema’s golden age. This is both emphasised by and fits perfectly with the absence of traditional dialogue and monochrome tinged night sequences.

Another key element of the film is the music. Laurent Perez del Mar’s score intertwines smoothly with the visuals on screen, integrating wood and bamboo percussion, gentle flutes and soaring strings to add even more depth to the film’s already kaleidoscopic tones.

At the very core of The Red Turtle is a universal message which transcends boundaries of language, culture, geography and age. Above all else, this is the film’s greatest strength.