Microsoft and Specialisterne work together to hire people with autism

Experience was the key to specialist recruiter Specialisterne being enlisted by Microsoft to help hire people with autism under a new pilot programme.

Fri, 10 Apr 2015Experience was the key to specialist recruiter Specialisterne being enlisted by Microsoft to help hire people with autism under a new pilot programme.

The programme, which will run at Microsoft’s US Redmond headquarters, was announced by corporate vice president for worldwide operations Mary Ellen Smith in a blog post last week [3 April].

Smith said people with autism bring strengths Microsoft requires, such as an “amazing” ability to retain information, think at a level of detail and depth, or excel in maths or code.

For more than a decade Specialisterne have provided staff, most of whom have a diagnosis on the autism spectrum, to work as consultants in sectors with technically orientated tasks and jobs, such as data management, software testing and quality control.

And it was this experience Microsoft sought to harness when appointing Specialisterne, according to a spokesperson for the multi-national corporation.

“We chose to work with Specialisterne given their expertise in helping assess, train and employ individuals with autism as consultants in IT and other sectors with technically oriented tasks,” she said.

The spokesperson added Microsoft and Specialisterne will work together to provide a job transition coach and make workplace accommodations where necessary so that these workers can do their best work.

Thorkil Sonne, Specialisterne’s founder and chair, told Recruiter while it wasn’t necessary for employers to work with experts like Specialisterne when recruiting people with autism, if firms want to sell their company to such candidates and benefit from their recruitment experience built up over a number of year, it certainly helps.

The BBC reports the pilot will offer 10 places, based at Microsoft’s US Redmond headquarters.

When asked whether the company had any plans to roll out the programme to the UK, a Microsoft UK spokesperson told Recruiter the initiative is a US-only initiative but Microsoft would be evaluating all aspects of the programme.

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