Learning & Development

The Skinny on Interviewing Candidates with ADHD

In yesterday’s Advisor we discussed some of the implications of interviewing candidates who might have ADHD. Today we’ll look at what you can and cannot do during an interview before and after an offer is made.

See yesterday’s article for more information on the symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), as well as considerations on its legal definitions.

Given that 1 in 25 adults has some form of ADHD, you probably already have and will certainly be interviewing individuals with ADHD. Discriminating against anyone with a disability is illegal under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), so it’s important to know what you legally can and cannot do during an interview in order to avoid legal action.


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Before making a job offer, take the following into consideration:

  • Refusing to hire someone with ADHD is illegal, unless their particular case makes them unqualified for the job (an untreated individual who is easily distracted in a loud environment might be considered unqualified for a 911 call center job, for example).
  • You should never ask a candidate if he or she has a disability before making an offer.
  • You can’t ask a candidate if he or she needs reasonable accommodations for a job if he or she doesn’t reveal a disability, or if he or she doesn’t obviously have a disability. However, you can ask any candidate if he or she needs reasonable accommodation for the interview.
  • In the event that a candidate’s disability is obvious:
    • You may not ask medical questions.
    • You may ask about reasonable accommodations for the job, if it is reasonable to question whether that disability might pose difficulties for the individual in performing a specific job task.
    • If you believe a candidate’s disability will interfere with his or her ability to do the job, you may ask him or her to demonstrate or describe how he or she would perform certain job duties.
  • Reasonable accommodations both for the interview process and for the job in question are complicated, but if you can do something fairly simple that will allow your candidate to interview or to work the same as everyone else, you must under the law.
  • Refusal to provide reasonable accommodation during an interview or job for anyone with a disability is illegal and could land you in court.
  • Because ADHD is difficult to identify, it may almost never be obvious, the way that some disabilities are. It’s best to err on the side of caution and not ask.

Once you make a job offer, the situation changes:

  • Once you make an offer but before the individual begins working, you may discuss the existence of a disability—even if the employee did not reveal it to you.
  • You may request that a medical examination occur after the offer is made, but before the employee begins working. Even if that exam reveals that your candidate has a disability, you may not withdraw the job offer unless he or she is unable to perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodation.

Concerning confidentiality, always remember that an employer may share medical information with other decision-makers involved in the hiring process who need such information to make employment decisions consistent with the ADA. In addition, the interviewer may share it with the following people:

  • Supervisors and managers may be told about necessary restrictions on the work or duties of an employee, and about his or her reasonable accommodations.
  • First aid and safety personnel may be given medical information if the disability might require emergency treatment.
  • Government officials investigating compliance with the ADA may be told the employee’s medical history.
  • State workers’ compensation offices, state second injury funds, or workers’ compensation insurance carriers may be told.

Making sure that your recruiting practices are in compliance with the ADA is just part of the recruiting world. For example, recruiting college graduates is one of the most important tool in any recruiter’s belt, and it’s a completely different world compared to other types of recruiting.

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Register today for this interactive webinar.

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  • Why they want a relationship, not a job, and what you can do build that
  • Strategies for working with other members of the college community, including deans, schools, career centers, clubs, departments, and other sources to locate potential recruits 
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Wednesday, October 21, 2015
2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. (Eastern)
1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. (Central)
12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. (Mountain)
11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (Pacific)

Approved for Recertification Credit and Professional Development Credit

This program has been approved for 1 credit hour toward recertification through the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI) and 1 credit hour towards SHRM-CPSM or SHRM-SCPSM.

Join us on Wednesday, October 21, 2015—you’ll get the in-depth College Recruiting: The Keys to Building a Productive Program that Attracts Top Talent webinar AND you’ll get all of your particular questions answered by our experts.

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Train Your Entire Staff

As with all BLR®/HR Hero® webinars:

  • Train all the staff you can fit around a conference phone.
  • Get your (and their) specific phoned-in or e-mailed questions answered in Q&A sessions that follow the presentation.

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