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Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Recruitment - Building a Diverse Team (published by Marcia C. Manarin)


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The prevailing discourse on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) policies within companies prompts a critical question: are these initiatives truly fostering genuine diversity, or are they merely superficial gestures?

The reason for raising this concern is clear: while DEI has become a ubiquitous buzzword, its true application should commence at the very foundation of organisational processes, notably the recruitment phase. However, assessing diversity isn't solely about collecting demographic data such as gender, age, or ethnicity. Another significant challenge lies in the continued use of tools like the Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test (CCAT) as an initial screening method by some firms.

For those unfamiliar, the CCAT resembles the 11-plus examination in the UK, comprising verbal, math, logic, and spatial reasoning questions. Ostensibly, it aims to gauge candidates' problem-solving abilities, adaptability to new information, and critical thinking skills.

Yet, the inherent flaw with such standardised tests is their assumption of uniform cognitive capabilities across all individuals—a premise contradicted by the rich diversity of human cognition. Neurodivergent individuals, for instance, may struggle to excel on these tests compared to neurotypical counterparts. While some companies may offer additional time allowances for such candidates, it's merely a superficial concession that fails to address the fundamental issue—the inherent bias embedded within the test itself.

Organisations stand to gain immensely from embracing a diverse workforce, as it brings forth a spectrum of perspectives and approaches that can enrich their operations. However, by relying on selective tools like the CCAT, companies inadvertently limit their talent pool to individuals who conform to a narrow cognitive profile, stifling innovation and inclusivity in the process.

The persistence of such tools in recruitment stems partly from claims made by the creators of the CCAT, Dr. Dawn Bennett and Professor Glenys Parry, who assert its efficacy in predicting job performance and longevity. However, anecdotal evidence contradicts this narrative, with instances of employees who, despite passing the CCAT, depart within a year of employment. As I delve deeper into this issue, it becomes increasingly apparent that such antiquated methodologies not only run counter to the principles of DEI but also impede genuine progress towards fostering inclusive workplaces.

For those interested, I've compiled relevant information on this matter, including a poignant cartoon from Adriana Beal's insightful post (copied above). 

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid”.

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