How aware are you of the different learning conditions? Do you know how to support people with learning difficulties through an interview?

When it comes to interviews, it is important to bear in mind that individuals within your candidate selection process may need more support than others. And there isn’t a one size fits all approach either; support must be devised per learning condition on an individual basis.

In this blog we will cover 5 of these conditions and how you can help candidates through an interview by adapting and generally being more aware of certain learning difficulties; creating an engaging and supportive environment.

Asperger’s Syndrome

Around 1 in 100 people in the UK are thought to have ASD. People with Austim or Asperger’s Syndrome have difficulties with how they perceive the world and their interactions with it; this can understandably have an effect on how they communicate in an interview environment.

To support within an interview, breaking down questions into smaller more manageable chunks to achieve the end answer allows the candidate the ability to focus on one thing at a time. Also, allow processing time when awaiting an answer to a question, don’t repeat the question or fill the silence.


Approximately 10% of the world’s population have dyslexia, a common specific learning difficulty that can have a profound impact on learning and literacy skills. It can affect people of all backgrounds and abilities in a number of different ways, learners with dyslexia may suffer from poor short term memory so have problems retaining sequences of numbers, words and instructions to carry out tasks.

Using pictorial guides or photographs instead of always reading to the candidate and also allowing sufficient time to complete each task before starting another can help those with dyslexia. Discussing instructions with the candidate before they start to answer a question can help qualify and check their understanding of the question before they commence their answer. Those with dyslexia are often unable to work with a white background, both on paper or on a computer as it can appear too bright. Using cream or pale coloured paper can be useful during the interview and setting up a computer screen with a pale coloured background also helps if the candidate needs to use either of these modes.


Dyscalculia is a specific learning disability in maths and interview candidates will have difficulties understanding number-related questions. To help any candidates with dyscalculia, it is important to encourage them to talk through the problem solving and write down the steps once spoken about if maths is part of your interview process.


This is a common disorder affecting fine and/or gross motor coordination which can affect both adults and children and they can have difficulties writing and learning new skills.

Support in an interview setting revolves around repetition, memory aids and establishing routines. When introducing new questions or tasks it is important to use aids to reinforce such as white boards detailing the format of the interview to ensure routine becomes established.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

There are 3 core symptoms of ADHD; inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity. In an interview setting, candidates may have trouble getting organised, trouble sitting still or fail to pay close attention to detail.

During an interview, make sure your candidate’s time is fully utilised, try to make it as engaging as possible so candidate doesn’t feel restless and is comfortable.

If you have any questions about interviewing please contact us at  or +44(0)191 5007875. We would love to hear from you!






Rebecca joined the HRreview editorial team in January 2016. After graduating from the University of Sheffield Hallam in 2013 with a BA in English Literature, Rebecca has spent five years working in print and online journalism in Manchester and London. In the past she has been part of the editorial teams at Sleeper and Dezeen and has founded her own arts collective.