It’s October and countries around the world are marking International Dyslexia Awareness Month to raise awareness of the condition and shatter myths about how it “holds people back”.
Dyslexia is a genetic difference in an individual’s ability to learn and process information and affects at least 1 in 10 people. More than 6 million people in the UK have dyslexia and may not have received a diagnosis – despite how common the condition is, it is often hidden and those living with dyslexia make countless compromises to ‘fit in’ to a neurotypical society.
Those with dyslexia can also face huge obstacles in applying for jobs – with writing CVs and cover letters a major challenge.
Now, the founders of video interview platform, Willo, have opened up on living with dyslexia themselves and why they’re working to make CVs obsolete.
Euan Cameron and Andrew Wood co-founded Willo in 2018 believe videos are already the new cover letter – and could soon replace the CV completely.
This could be a major boost for people with dyslexia who are often put off the recruitment process before it has even started.
Both Cameron and Wood have dyslexia – as does half the team who work for their platform. Neither could read as children and were told they’d never pass their school exams. Spoiler alert: they’re doing pretty well for themselves.
Willo already counts Boohoo and Samsung among its clients, having persuaded these companies (and others like them) that talent can come from anywhere and shouldn’t be bound by geographical location or – as its founders stress – by conditions such as dyslexia.
The pandemic and remote working helped proved their first point and now they are keen to raise awareness of the second, something they know firsthand.
Cameron, 34, from Glasgow, tells HuffPost UK: “I heard people talk about those who were dyslexic being less capable, so I hid it throughout university and during my early career.
“There are certain things I find difficult because of my dyslexia, but if anything it’s an advantage, I’ve learned to completely lean into my strengths, and I want others to be able to do that without facing judgement.”
If companies want to hire the best people, they really need to look beyond the CV, he adds.
“People with dyslexia can be incredible problem solvers and communicators because they’ve had to find different unique ways of overcoming challenges throughout their entire lives,” says Cameron.
“They can be creative, hard-working and charismatic, but they may find writing a CV difficult. Our platform allows people to build a 360-degree view of someone, not just a piece of paper. Just look at Richard Branson, he’s dyslexic but has always looked at things differently.”
Wood, 33, agrees with his co-founder. “Dyslexia is a big reason for Willo’s success,” he says.
“We’ve stripped back text to make it as simple as possible and we believe in the power of video. When you rely on the CV only to screen candidates, you miss out on incredible people.”