This week I solicited feedback from tutors, Knots Arts and an HR professional about the first draft of the form.
Analysis by Knots Arts
Ideally, I would have asked the youth group to give feedback on the form so that I could include more recommendations from them. However, the group is on the half-term break as of the time of writing. Cassie Yates has given her opinion:
“On the education section, I would divide it into qualification, subject, grade e.g. A Level, History, BTEC. this would make it easier to understand what goes where. If possible it would be good to have an example if you can fit it in.
“About your experience section, choose to either use opportunity or situation or place what was the situation? A line below, so it’s clear it is part of the answer, not the question.
“There are other things that I know would cause questions but you cannot cover it all. I will list them here but this is just for reference.
- “At the beginning of the form, what will happen if the application is not successful?
- “What documents prove the right to work in the UK?
- “How will I be contacted?
“Overall it is very clear and asks for relevant information.
“Some bits are wordy but these are the legal bits so nowt you can do about that.”
Analysis from tutors
Feedback from HR department at a publishing company:
- “Due to GDPR/Data Protection we only ask the information that we require and must be able to prove why we require information if asked. Therefore, we wouldn’t usually ask for someone’s address at this stage. Neither would we ask for date of birth as we wouldn’t want this to have the potential to effect [sic] any shortlisting decisions, we could open ourselves up to unconscious bias.
- “We ask for Right to Work evidence at offer stage. We would ask if they are legally entitled to work at this stage but wouldn’t ask them to provide evidence at interview stage.
- “If [sic] there a necessity to know the address of their school/college/uni?
- “Sometimes the individuals most relevant experience is not necessarily their most recent job. For example, If I was applying for shop/shift work I would draw on shop work I did years ago rather than my HR experience. Is there space for this and not just the latest role?
- “The declaration at the end – is this necessary? Perhaps there could be one more question about their soft skills instead? i.e. Can you explain what excites and interests you about working for….? Why do you believe you will be an asset to….? Describe a situation when you decided to adapt your approach to provide a better outcome for others and why? Describe an example of a mistake that you have made or an unexpected issue, how did you feel about this and what actions you took following this experience?”
Final outcome of form
After feedback from Knots’ Arts, an HR professional and Stuart Tolley, I revised the form:
Neurodiversity should not be a barrier to work, and ideally, it should be companies and their HR departments that lead the way to ensure that the application process is welcoming and accessible as possible. In this project, I have focussed on a small group with which to make a form to ensure that I could hear their thoughts, and all of the members have skills that would be valuable to a workplace.
Before taking application forms to the youth group, I had expectations for what they might like and respond to well, and what they might not. A few were correct, for example, preferring forms with lots of white space and less text, however, I did not anticipate how they would be nervous about the amount of information I asked.
The form is not an end-all: customisations might be needed for each company and role for the form to be usable. At the moment, it serves as the base level that needs to considered, and with notes, I am able to communicate why I have made the design decisions that I have. It’s a useful tool for companies to be able to consider why they ask for the personal information that they do.
Evaluation and possibilities for the future
I think I took a while to reach the concept of the project, and once I did I felt like I knew the scope and could see the end result clearly. Looking at the project as a whole, it doesn’t strike me as graphically interesting because the requirements of the focus group dictated that it should be clear and simple. However, the project has reached into an overlooked issue that, if it were to be expanded, could have life-changing effects for neurodiverse people. So how could I take this further?
To start with, I would increase the focus group size from one youth group to groups with varying needs and different ages. The feedback I would get, I predict, would be at times contradictory but the more input into what works and doesn’t work for different people would enable me to create a stronger form.
Whilst carrying out a focus group, I would find a new way to collect feedback. For this project, the members of the group were able to talk to me, and I recorded their responses, or they wrote notes directly onto the forms. A way to record their responses that would be able to quantify their responses on a sliding scale, without being stressful, might be one way to do this.
The application forms I selected came from various shops, and I feel they are out of date. Many companies now purely recruit online, so I would widen the study to include online forms. I would aim to work directly with companies to design forms that serve neurodiverse people so that feedback between what employers and potential employees required can be considered simultaneously. If I continued with the project, I would look at paper and online forms, and that would require a standard way of recording responses.
The end-all project would be an online graphic design tool that would allow HR professionals to build print or online forms themselves, whilst following linguistic and design guidelines for neurodiverse people. This would have the effect of ensuring that companies are able to ask for the information they need and get informed responses from all applications and mean that employment of all kinds is accessible for neurodiverse people.
- Autism.org.uk. (2019). National Autistic Society. [online] Available at: https://www.autism.org.uk/about.aspx [Accessed 6 Oct. 2019].
- National Autistic Society (2019). The autism employment gap. Too Much Information. London: National Autistic Society.
- Hill, A. (2019). ‘Autism doesn’t hold me back. I’m moving up the career ladder’. [online] The Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/mar/08/autism-career-ladder-workplace [Accessed 6 Oct. 2019].
- Grandin, T., Duffy, K. and Attwood, T. (2008). Developing talents. Shawnee Mission, KS: Autism Asperger Pub. Co.
- Knotsarts.com. (2019). About Knots Arts – Knots Arts. [online] Available at: https://knotsarts.com/about-us/ [Accessed 9 Oct. 2019].
- Healthtalk.org. (2016). Autism & problems getting a job | Topics, Life on the Autism spectrum, Autism, People’s Experiences | healthtalk.org. [online] Available at: http://www.healthtalk.org/peoples-experiences/autism/life-autism-spectrum/autism-problems-getting-job#ixzz61JHQ8kgF [Accessed 9 Oct. 2019].