This week I did some work with a group of people who have learning disabilities at Edge Disability Consultancy in Woking. They support young people to get into employment.

The number of people with learning disabilities working in paid meaningful work is often low, although hopefully that is changing as society becomes more accepting and employers put in small changes to make things more accessible. 

One such positive change comes from John Lewis and Partners who now make job interview questions available online so they can be viewed before the candidate goes into the interview.

While the questions are given, the order they are asked and any follow-up questions will still be a surprise at the interview. The idea is to make the process fairer and prevent nerves  affecting performance.  

People with autism often need time to process information. The questions being revealed before will help them (and all of us) to plan what we want to say and hopefully help with making it a less nerve-wracking situation.

We discussed this with the group and also the dreaded questions at a job interview. Whilst we can reel off lists of our strengths and positive things about us, it can be a challenge to know how to respond when asked about weaknesses and to then turn them into a positive rather than give the employer a reason not to hire. 

You can hear the conversation and reaction in the coming weeks on the Sunny Sessions. One stand-out moment from this was recording with two autistic ladies what I thought from the planning stages would be doing a standard mock job interview, but when we started recording it became an off-the-cuff improvised comedy sketch which made us all laugh but also highlighted how people can interpret questions in different ways.

One of the questions, asking if the candidate was flexible, was answered with “yes I can do a one-handed cartwheel!” We all found it particularly funny, but interesting to hear their interpretation of a job interview. 

I recall my first ever job interview when I was 16. It was with Waitrose in Goldsworth Park. When asked why I wanted to work for them I replied saying I needed the money! Needless to say I didn't get the job. I guess honesty is the best policy but maybe you can be too honest some times?

Listen to the Sunny Sessions, the inclusive radio show from The Sunnybank Trust on Surrey Hills Community Radio, Monday and Thursday at 10am. Also on demand at

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