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Adam's Blog: Employment

with Asperger Syndrome

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My First Experience with a Group Interview

On April the 27th, 2016, I participated in a group interview at The Salvation Army's Adult Rehabilitation Center in the eastern region of Anaheim, California. When my job developer at Westview Vocational Services informed me that I was to report there, she called it a job fair, not a group interview. So I did absolutely nothing to prepare for an interview, not knowing it was actually going to be an interview. She just texted me the day before, basically saying “There’s a job fair at 1300 South Lewis Street in Anaheim, California tomorrow at 10AM. Come!” She gave no reassurance that it was optional, so I acted as if it was mandatory participation in my vocational program at Westview Vocational Services.

Myself included, there were approximately six participants. We were all asked if the current employment we stated on our applications was correct, which we all affirmed. We were all asked if we had transportation to the facility should we get hired, and we all said yes. We were all asked if our current employment would interfere with their availability to The Salvation Army. I clarified that my internship at Spectrum Success is one that I can telecommute from wherever there's internet, and it currently does not have specified hours during which I perform the duties. The interviewer stated that his current employees often strike up conversations over their work, slowing and even sometimes stopping production. We were all told that when the HR person returns from her approximately week-and-a-half vacation, we will all be called for second interviews. At the time of writing this blog post, I am still waiting for a call back from The Salvation Army.

Before the interview, I was calm, not nervous or anything. But one other group interview participant was speaking in double negatives which are known to be grammatically incorrect in the English language. He admits his favorite musical genre is country. According to what I was taught in the two Employability Skills classes I've taken, no matter how heavily that music or those who make it may influence him, he must demonstrate better knowledge of the English language to actually get a job.

During the interview, I became nervous that I would not have a satisfactory answer when asked, "Why do you want to work here?" or "Why should we hire you?" But surprisingly, those questions were never asked of any of us in the group interview. That was a relief for me.

After the interview, my job developer & I agreed it looked promising, especially because the interviewer expressed dissatisfaction with the performance of many of his current employees. I was proud of myself in how I answered the questions. I remain hopeful but not excessively optimistic that I will be called for a second interview. Once I left The Salvation Army's Adult Rehabilitation Center, I went to Starbucks to go online before attending groups at Wellness Center West in Garden Grove, California. It is another adult mental health recovery day program that works collaboratively with the College Community Services Wellness Center in Orange, California which I mentioned in previous posts.

I do feel that my job developer at Westview has taken into consideration my strengths and interests before setting up this interview. She knows I want to work a predominantly-THINGS job, which IS the nature of warehouse work. I am currently having FOUR job developers assist me in seeking employment: Sneha is both my supervisor AND one of my job developers, I have another one at Westview, and I have one at each of the Wellness Centers.

Lastly, I would like to add that if you tell the California Department of Rehabilitation that you do not own any formalwear (interview appropriate clothes), they will write up a purchase order specifying a retailer that you go to and pick your own formalwear. I went to the retailer alone, but others have the option to be accompanied. The purchase order may send you to a chain store, but you must go to the location specified on the purchase order to use it as your form of payment. The purchase order will specify items you may purchase and quantities of each item. The retailer will be unable to accept any returns whatsoever of items purchased with a purchase order, so be sure to try everything on and be sure you’re comfortable with the fit of all items before having the cashier ring everything up and charge it to the purchase order.

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