ILMJ* BLOG

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Hiring for diversity: what about ADHD? 

Meet Emma Johnson, a freelance writer specialising in neurodivergence, ADHD, and mental health. She aims to combine her personal journey with ADHD alongside her customer service and managerial experience to boost awareness for accommodating, advocating, and celebrating neurodivergence in the workplace.

In her spare time, Emma pursues a list of crafty hyper focuses, from baking and bookbinding to exploring the Derbyshire countryside and disappearing into fiction.

After feeling truly inspired by her work, we invited Emma to create a piece for ILMJ’s Community Blog* about the benefits of hiring candidates with ADHD – and how contrary to what some may believe, it really is a strength rather than a weakness.

Thank you for sharing your story with us Emma…

With approximately 1.5 million adults in the UK estimated to have ADHD and a growing number being officially diagnosed every day, I am proudly writing this piece to shine the spotlight on the positive attributes people with ADHD can bring to the workplace, some of which might surprise you.

So, whether you’re hiring someone with ADHD, have little awareness of ADHD, or have ADHD yourself and would like to capture the positive skills and traits that come with it, this is for you.

 

What people with ADHD bring to the table

🎨 We are creative, with multifaceted skillsets

Neurodivergence has provided us with a unique perspective on the world. We love to demonstrate this with our creative, free-thinking ideas that help us make our mark. We love nothing more than to contribute and educate others on the varied skills and experience our hyperfocus has gifted us (we are the jack-of-all trades of applicable resources). Not only that – but we also love the thrill of a calculated risk. A UK study in 2014 revealed a link between the variation in the dopamine receptor gene in people with ADHD and the tendency to become an entrepreneur – that’s right, we are naturals at exceeding expectations.

💪🏼 We thrive under pressure

Working under pressure or in slightly chaotic circumstances is something we excel at. We enjoy against-the-odds challenges and the feel-good chemicals that accompany a job well done. While excessive external stimuli can be equally as stressful for people with ADHD, we have grown accustomed to processing the world this way and contribute a superior level of calm and focus when completing tasks.

🏃🏽‍♂️ We find motivation in short-term deadlines

Not only do short-term deadlines build on our ability to thrive under pressure – they can actually give us the tools to be more productive and focused. Allocating less time to a task ensures we complete it in a timely manner. Let’s be honest, putting off tasks when we don’t know where to start is a universal trait, however with ADHD we have existing methods to combat this – such as short-term deadlines.

🙋🏼‍♀️ We are outgoing and great with people

Whether working with clients, customers, or colleagues, our sociable personalities help us to create and maintain firm working relationships. Our extroverted and relatable nature lends itself well to training as well as people-facing roles, where we can make those around us feel welcome and at home.

😍 We are passionate and enthusiastic in our work

Our enthusiasm for even the smallest task is something we have cultivated our whole lives. To complete any task, we must make it engaging and rewarding for ourselves to maintain focus. This passion always reflects in our work.

 

Presenting a fresh perspective from CV to workplace

These assets form the foundation of how ADHD can present in adults. They are just as prominent as the more common stereotypes and equip us with a broad range of valuable skills that merit being represented in CVs and interviews. Neurodivergence gives us the unique opportunity to contribute a different perspective to individual and team-based tasks, and it is important to recognise and celebrate this both as an employer and an employee.

Celebrating success in the workplace today

To better illustrate the innovative, creative, and determined nature that ADHD lends to our work ethic, I will leave you with a working example of the potential it exhibits in the world today.

Some notable examples of people who have harnessed their ADHD to become incredibly successful in their respective fields include:

  • Richard Branson (founder of Virgin) 
  • Emma Watson (Women’s Rights Activist and Actress) 
  • Simone Biles (Olympic and World Championship winning gymnast) 
  • Bill Gates (co-founder of Microsoft) 

Although diagnostic criteria wasn’t developed at the time, many believe JFK would have been diagnosed also.

With founders and CEOs of business giants, activists, Olympians, and even a President navigating the world with ADHD, it is definitely a group I am proud to be a part of – and certainly demonstrates what our focus and passion can achieve.

 

Note from ILMJ:

We are firm believers in embracing individuality and celebrating every person! If everyone thinks in the same way, how can any fresh, unique, big-picture ideas be brought to the table? How can new, effective ways of working be imagined? Let’s celebrate the overwhelmingly positive qualities that people with ADHD can bring to a team – and encourage employers to recognise how incredible neurodivergent minds can be.

 

-ENDS-

*ILMJ’s Community Blog is a paid writing opportunity that provides a platform for our community to discuss their knowledge and experiences of the hiring process, whilst detailing ideas and solutions to strengthen social equality in recruitment and the workplace. If you’re an aspiring writer and are interested in getting involved, please email frankie@ilovemyjob.co.uk for more details (No experience needed, just great written skills and a passion for your chosen subject!)

 

Sources:
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11187-010-9308-1
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-44956540#:~:text=About%201.5%20million%20adults%20in%20the%20UK%20have,drugs%2C%20commit%20crime%20or%20end%20up%20in%20prison.?msclkid=ae6c853ec71511ec9a6b609bbf757d46