Should I disclose my Asperger's syndrome on my job application

I am a 23 year old with Asperger's syndrome trying to find work (and have been for some time) and always have the dilemma of whether I should disclose my Aspergers on my job application,wait until during the interview, after the interview if i get the job or not at all. At the moment I usually mention it in the equlity monitoring part of the application form and at the interview if a question is relevant (for example if they ask to explain a difficulty I had to overcome)

my dad is now advised me to keep quiet about the Asperger's as he feels its none of the employers business and I have no legal obligation to do so. However my mother advises me to declare it to them as she feels it is important that they know.

Am I best to tell employers or keep quiet about it? 

If i don't tell employers am I liable to be sued or dismissed etc further down the line if they found out?

  • If i don't tell employers am I liable to be sued or dismissed etc further down the line if they found out?

    No, that would be disability discrimination, it somewhat depends on their view though, if they were to try and get rid of you they were probably someone who wouldn't employ you in the first place.

    Am I best to tell employers or keep quiet about it? 

    I'd leave it off, mostly because it's not relevant, the person you are will come across in your interview, if they like you they will employ you, if they don't then they won't. 

  • I must admit to being a bit of a 'let it all hang out' person now, having done the flip-side and got not just the t-shirt, but several. As such, I would say have a think about the positive perspective.

     As you are under no obligation either way, to disclose or otherwise, I would say:

     a) do what makes you feel the most comfortable, do what feels right for you, do it on your terms.

     b) ask yourself this question: do I want to work in an environment that is open and accepting of who I am, my Aspergers and abilities, is sympathetic, understanding and flexible so that if I need 'time out' I can get it without having to fight for it, (or worse, make excuses) and be around people who 'get me' and are positive, inclusive, and also perhaps want to maximise on the innate abilities I have and recognise my contribution, and work for an employer that is up to speed on their responsibilities etc etc. OR do I want to work in an environment where I am hiding in plain sight and constantly managing for the benefit of everyone else around me, and with the potential of 'being found out' - all sounds a bit negative I know but why walk round with the 'keep it hidden under wraps because it's negative' mindset??? - hanging over me like the sword of Damocles, and then the unnecessary stress and pressure that comes with that.

     I know what I'd choose.

     Ultimately any job is about the right fit. The right fit for you, the right fit for the employer. If in the event you choose to be open and put Aspergers on your CV, and during the interview they ask you about it, you can always say: what would you like to know? It would then be an opportunity for you to be you, and perhaps go some ways to dispelling the stigmas and myths and then other people can benefit too. You might be surprised that they take the initiative and say: we already have people who have Aspergers working for us...

     And one last thing: how do you know that a potential employer ISN'T looking for someone with Aspergers? They might want someone with that extra little something, so...

     Personally, at the end of the day, I think sticking to what interests you the most, and what inspires you, will lead you in the right direction towards a career that fits you best. Put yourself first and then I think the right job will just be there for you; and the right people too.

     Best of luck with your career. 

  • As someone who always failed job interviews (I ought to be in the Guinness book of records for the category ' Most Job Interviews Failed') which I now put down to my autism, I know what a dilemma you must be in.

    I am now 62, so I have the advantage of a great deal of hindsight on how I would deal with things if I had my time again.   Autism can give you a lot of disadvantages in itself in an interview situation.  You may get anxious (most people do) and this leads to a loss of executive function, a delay in processing information and a need to 'stim'.  You can try to quell the stimming, but that them might lead to apparent 'fidgeting'.  You may not give eye contact, so the interviewer thinks you are 'shifty' and evasive.  Your mind may go 'blank' and you may find that even if they asked what two and two make you would hesitate before giving the answer.   NTs are fixated on their ability to judge people, most times they have no idea and get it wrong, they have only read it in books or some non-scrutinised theory is used to judge.  As someone who is autistic you really are a great disadvantage.  And add to all this the 'team-player' which every employer seems to think is the greatest attribute of a potential employee you are really struggling.

    As not disclosing my autism never did me any good (I was blissfully unaware of it in all honesty until about four or five years ago and just did not understand why I was failing job interviews however well I prepared myself or howeve well I thought I was suited to the job.  So on that basis, I would certainly consider declaring my autism now in the (very unlikely) chance that I applied for another job.  Public employers are theoretically more likely to understand autism, they invariably state 'we are and equal opportunities employer', although in reality I doubt whether this is more than lip service to make them look good.

    I have only ever been offered a permanent job as a result of being sent to an employer by an agency.  The agency which I found most conscientious about finding me a job gave me various tests to find out the skills I had and with them I was rarely out of work for more than a week.  And they found me two permanent jobs, one of which I gave up to do some higher education, that employer did offer me a job again once I finished my training but I declined.

    If you do declare you autism the employer will be obliged under the equality act to offer you adjustments at an interview in order that you are not 'disadvantaged'.  In practice I do not really know how this would work, but could include asking more 'leading' questions than the vague ones they usually ask, as well as accepting that eye contact may be difficult and their may be information processing problems which are far more likely to occur during an interview.  Then should you get the job, the employer may accept that you require a routine, that you may not understand some of the 'unwritten' rules of the office and you may prefer to work in a quieter area, that you may not, for example, have much aptitude for telephone calls outside your particular area of expertise and you may prefer to concentrate on the job in hand until it is completed.

    Not disclosing should not cause you problems with the employer questioning your honesty should they find out later.  But you have to cross the hurdles above before you even get to the job.  My autism, which was not disclosed due to me not knowing about it (people always thought I was strange and I never have be sociable and always prefer to concentrate on a job and have a very poor short term memory amongst other things).  And it never really caused me a problem in work until I was Tuped over to a job which was substantially different, worked in a way which was alien to my thought processes and involved a lot of changing over from one task to another. 

    Since being diagnosed I have had adjustments to my job although the management do not really understand my autism and I get the feeling they think I can just 'turn it off' and be trained not to be autistic.  I cannot, and 'coping' by forcing myself to do something in a way that I find difficult always has a high cost in more sensory overload, anxiety and  meltdowns.

    Above all though, have confidence in yourself.  Autism can be a very good gift and employers with an iota of sense should realise that an autistic person can be very well suited to a lot of jobs in the modern world.  And would you really like to work for an employer who discriminated against you for being what you are?

  • I personally don't explicitly disclose it - when asked if I have a disability, I now say 'Prefer not to say'; I will put ASD on any health form though.

  • A lot of good advice from other posters already. I have had good experience with some agents and have found my current job through an agent that I had disclosed to. You don't need to bring it up at interview - they are looking for someone with skills, having a disability is not a selling point in most situations.

    One very important thing to emphasise is that some employers are incapable and unwilling to make an autistic friendly workplace. In an interview, you should try and interview them as much as they are interviewing you. Avoid firms where there are constantly changing priorities and unrealistic deadlines. Look for places where people work in a collaborative or collegiate manner rather than in a top-down hierarchy.

    It is quite likely that you will find yourself in a bad firm at some point and I would advise that you don't try and fix it but just move on. It is also important to understand that you need to make an effort to fit in and understand how you are different and may appear to be difficult to work with. I have worked with other autistic people and it is not hard to see how irritating we can be!

    There can be no standard advice that works for everyone though. We are all different and some people will manage to do different things and some are more or less affected by autism.

  • When last job hunting I was told, in no uncertain terms,  that the purpose of a job application and accompanying CV is to get an interview, not to get a job.  The interview is what gets you  the job, unless they already know you, in which case it can be merely a formality. 

    I would recommend you don't mention your Aspergers when initially applying.  Whether or not you tell the interviewers, or even wait until you start the job is a separate question. I have found that telling people towards the end of the interview works for me, then asking them if they have any questions,  though that may have a lot to do with the type of work you are seeking and the individual interviewers.

    In any case - good luck.

  • I am as always job hunting and have been pondering this very question. I do declare it on equal ops sections of forms but do not tell anyone when I get the job. Inevitably I find the position too over-stimulating or they hate me and I have to leave. I've always had to fill in forms with my manager present and actively watching so I've never had the nerve to write it on a company document online or on paper. I find this very frustrating. 

  • piggy77 said:

    I am as always job hunting and have been pondering this very question. I do declare it on equal ops sections of forms but do not tell anyone when I get the job. Inevitably I find the position too over-stimulating or they hate me and I have to leave. I've always had to fill in forms with my manager present and actively watching so I've never had the nerve to write it on a company document online or on paper. I find this very frustrating. 

    Oddly I find most of my work under-stimulating, which gives me a lot of time to think and be anxious.