Mentra 🧠

Current hiring practices are failing autistic job seekers. How can our hiring platform bridge this gap?

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Role

UX design lead

UI design

Methods

Sketching

Wireframing

Interactive prototyping

Deliverable

Onboarding flow that

collects information

about accommodations

and accomplishments.

Timeline

9/2019 - 2/2020

The Problem

To understand the nuances of the job search process for autistic adults, we spoke to autistic self advocates and vocational center staff.

 

We split up the job search process into a four-step framework, each step at which an autistic job seeker can face challenges.

 

On top of that, recruiters that are looking for autistic candidates find them far and few in between. 

1 - Search

"Even if I have the skills for the job, complex, hard-to-navigate systems make it hard to find the right position."

3 - Interview

"Interviewers often do not know how to accommodate autism and judge candidates for their weakness rather than their strengths."

2 - Apply

"Once I find the right position, it’s difficult to apply to similar ones because titles and requirements are labelled differently."

4 - On the Job

"Employers are not aware of accommodations for autistic employees, which prevents me from doing my best work."

Bridging the Gap

We developed a step-by-step onboarding flow for autistic job seekers to generate a holistic employment profile. Based on the questions asked during onboarding, recruiters will be able to understand a candidate’s career interests and accommodations through a generated resume.

Developed with the help of neurodiverse job seekers and leaders at vocational centers, the flow collects information in four broad categories that allow for a holistic representation of each neurodiverse job seeker.

1

Strengths and Personality

Job seekers are asked about their strengths, skills, and career goals.

3

Career Background

Job seekers enter their previous jobs and relevant projects – neurodiverse job seekers often do not have experience in the fields they want to enter.

2

Environmental Preferences

Job seekers are asked about their ideal work environment and accommodations they need to do their best work.

4

Personal Information

Basics like contact info, work authorization, and commuting preferences.

Designing for Inclusion

Before putting pen to paper, I set three design goals to ensure accessibility and ease of use for our user group.

1. Non-stimulating UI

Minimal UI ensures that users are not overstimulated by the visual design.

2. Chunked information

Present information in chunks to ensure comprehension and understanding.

3. Multiple modes of representation

Represent information through text, graphics, and description to reinforce meaning and appeal to different modes of understanding.

Keeping these principles in mind, I designed the step-by-step survey with one question per page. Each answer card consists of a headline, a visual, and a description. Through iterative user and expert testing, I refined selection methods and increased progress visibility.

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Validating our Decisions

Mentra's first UX Researcher, Nandita Gupta, joined the team a month after the flow was completed and we finally got the opportunity to test the onboarding flow with real users. Together, we put together a usability testing protocol that would help us validate:

1

Candidate information goals

Are we collecting the right information to match candidates with jobs they actually want?

3

2

Order of questions and

flow

Does the flow of questions and information feel intuitive to candidates?

Accessibility

Are we meeting accessibility standards and the design goals we original

Over the month, we conducted usability tests 7 neurodiverse job seekers and heuristic evaluations with 3 accessible design experts.Although users were generally satisfied with the flow of information and length of the flow,

💬 – We are not asking users for as much info as they want to give

🤝 – We need to prove to our users that they can trust us with their sensitive information

💎 – We need to provide clarification and justification on why we’re
asking what we are

Iterating on our Design

Nandita and I formulated a number of design recommendations prioritized by user urgency and ease of implementation by the team.

After presenting our recommendations to the team, I implemented the changes over the following two week sprint. As Mentra's engineering team grew and began building out the flow, I worked with another designer at Mentra to create a design system to guide development.

Every candidate who signs up for Mentra now goes through this onboarding flow to get started on their inclusive hiring journey.

💬 – We are not asking users for as much info as they want to give

1. Allow users to enter optional details for
questions related to past experiences.


2. Ask users about accomplishments
that may not have happened at a job

🤝 – We need to prove to our users that they can trust us with their sensitive information

1. Tell users immediately what information will be shared with outside partners and recruiters.


2. Allow users to pick which pieces of information are visible on their profiles.