BACKGROUND: Even well-educated people with ASD struggle with obtaining employment, partially due to social difficulties during interviews. Although increasing numbers of individuals with ASD are entering college, little research focuses on this population. Particularly little is known about how to help college students with ASD obtain jobs.
OBJECTIVE: This study attempts to identify challenges with verbal communication during employment interviews that are specific to college students with ASD.
METHODS: We administered mock employment interviews to 16 college students with ASD and 14 college students without disabilities. Responses to interview questions were coded for content and timing.
RESULTS: Students with ASD exhibited slower onsets of responses and greater variability in response length than students without ASD. Students with ASD reported less desire for social aspects of employment than other students. They did not differ in self-reported social difficulties in the workplace. Although they overwhelmingly fully disclosed disability status, they rarely shared strengths of ASD or how they overcame challenges.
CONCLUSIONS: These findings highlight the need to develop vocational interventions for college students with ASD that help them develop impression management techniques during interviews such as demonstrating interest in social aspects of the workplace, educating interviewers about positive aspects of ASD, and replying in a timely manner.