Gloria Mendoza '14 is featured in The Washington Post's article, You're autistic. You know you can do a good job, but will employers listen? Mendoza talks about the difficulties of having autism while trying to get hired and what she has done to overcome them.
From The Washington Post:
In many ways, Gloria Mendoza is a typical 24-year-old. She has a college degree in computer science and music, she enjoys going to baseball games and movie nights, and she wants to find a fulfilling career. But after finishing school in 2014, Mendoza spent more than a year applying for jobs, with little success.
She lived with her parents and worked in temporary positions while sending out résumés, but she rarely heard back. When she did, Mendoza said, her autism made it difficult to make it past an interview. Like many people with autism, she might answer questions slowly, share a blunt observation that other applicants would temper, or miss social cues. Traditional job-interview questions such as asking for strengths and weaknesses left her feeling overwhelmed.
“I just had to think of something to say,” Mendoza said, pausing, “that wouldn’t screw up my chances of getting the job.” Often she couldn’t think of anything.
But after her father read about software giant SAP’s Autism at Work program, she applied, received lessons in social skills and went through five weeks of technical training at the company’s headquarters near her home in Newtown Square, Pa. There, hiring managers could assess Mendoza’s skills in a relaxed setting and find a good place for her within the company.