“Increasing the percentage of females or racial minorities in corporate workforces are goals often pursued by firms devoted” to Diversity, equity, and inclusion (known as DEI) and it has gained great prominence in recent years. [i] More and more companies are trying to apply DEI to their hiring practices. Opponents claim that this tends “to advance the mingling of racial or sexual identity with critical hiring decisions, leading to a decline in overall profitability and efficiency as efforts to hire the most qualified candidates are deprioritized.” [ii]
“Many companies in a variety of sectors, from media and communications to pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, publicly tout diversity programs as they seek to hire applicants based partly on their race and sex.” [iii] These efforts stem from the goal of achieving equality of outcome which “holds that certain groups should be proportionately represented in positions of power and affluence. Unlike equality of opportunity [italics mine], which presumes equality before the law, equality of outcome presumes the opposite.” [iv]
However, according to research by LinkedIn, “…while 77% of talent professionals say diversity is very important to the future of recruiting, 47% believe hiring managers aren’t held accountable for interviewing a diverse slate of candidates.” [v] Therefore, to help recruiters achieve better DEI results, LinkedIn has begun offering “Diversity Nudges” to alert recruiters of gender disparity in their candidate searches. “If gender representation in a given talent pool is unbalanced, a notification will pop up to let you know the Male/Female ratio of that search.” [vi]
Canadian Psychologist, Dr. Jordan Peterson says, “…the concept of diversity is a very slippery term. What it truly means is “let’s aim for fewer white men in positions of authority,” which would be a fine idea if race and sex were reasonable criteria by which to judge applicants…” [vii] Peterson has also claimed that “qualified and supremely trained heterosexual white male graduate students… face a negligible chance of being offered university research positions, despite stellar scientific dossiers thanks to diversity mandates.” [viii]
There’s an argument to be made that focusing on DEI may result in discounting qualified applicants who don’t fit a specific, sought after demographic. Whether you’re a proponent of DEI or not, it’s probably safe to say that, at the end of the day, what employers want most is to hire and promote those who are the most qualified and most likely to succeed more than anything else.
One of the best ways to achieve this is to conduct a careful job analysis “…to identify the tasks, responsibilities, skills, objectives, and work environment for a specific job.” [ix] This enables employers to concentrate on identifying the candidates who meet those requirements based, primarily, on merit and competence before anything else. The trick is in being able to identify those individuals, and that’s where the use of reliable and well-designed assessment tools comes into play.
As just one example, cognitive aptitude tests have been used for decades to help assess the suitability of job applicants. These kinds of assessments measure a candidate’s cognitive skills, like spatial, verbal, and numerical reasoning, reading comprehension, problem solving, attention to detail, and critical thinking. [x] The research on cognition and its correlation to job success is well established and dates to the early 20th Century. [xi] The US military, Amazon, Deloitte, and many others routinely use cognition tests as part of their screening processes.
The great news for employers is that there is a plethora of high-quality assessment products available today, many of which incorporate cognition as part of the test. Many more assessments are skill or role specific and allow employers to match them to the exact type of job that they’re hiring for and to increase their hiring success rate by doing so.
Assessments can also help employers in other ways. Success requires more than just critical thinking and numeracy skills. Being able to manage time, communicate effectively or interact appropriately in-person can be critical factors that must also be present in an applicant. Personality, work ethic and interpersonal skills all have a direct impact upon an individual’s success or failure in a role.
An April 2023 survey by Resume Builder [xii] illustrates just how problematic a lack of such skills can be. Their survey of 1,344 managers and business leaders found that 74% believe that GenZ is the most challenging generation to work with and that they aren’t as hardworking, driven, or resilient as other generations. The survey respondents found GenZers to be challenging employees because they lack technological skills (39%), effort (37%), and motivation (37%), among other skills and traits. Almost half of the respondents (49%) said that it’s difficult to work with GenZ all or most of the time, and 65% reported that they fire GenZers more often than employees of other generations. The reason for the firings? GenZers are too easily offended, according to the survey.
These are all things that can be tested for, and organizations that experience these kinds of headaches could reduce their pain by using assessments. Striving to create a diverse and representative workforce is a laudable goal, and everyone should be afforded equality of opportunity. However, this cannot be allowed to occur at the expense of competence and merit. Employers, jobseekers, and organizational success are all best served when roles are filled by people with the competence, skills and abilities required to enable them to excel in those positions. These traits are more reliable indicators of success than are age, gender, race or sexual orientation.
Creative Organizational Design offers 100s of reliable and accurate assessments that can help employers identify the most skilled, competent, and well-rounded individuals who are most likely to succeed, independent of other factors. If you’re recruiting and want to avoid many of the challenges listed above, call us, and let us help you find the kinds of candidates that you’re really looking for.
David Towler is President of Creative Organizational Design, a firm offering nearly 40 years of expertise specializing in employee assessments and which has over 2000 different product titles available. Creative Organizational Design has 100s of assessment tools designed to help employers screen out other people’s rejects, assess skills, aptitude, attitude and ‘fit’ within an organization. For more information about the options available and help selecting the best tools for your needs please contact us. Please send comments about this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.
[i] History of Cognitive Assessment – http://psychology.iresearchnet.com/forensic-psychology/history-of-forensic-psychology/history-of-cognitive-assessment/
[ii] 3 in 4 managers find it difficult to work with GenZ – https://www.resumebuilder.com/3-in-4-managers-find-it-difficult-to-work-with-genz/
[i] LinkedIn Allows Recruiters To Filter Job Candidates By Race – https://www.dailywire.com/news/linkedin-allows-recruiters-to-filter-job-candidates-by-race?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=benshapiro
[ii] Businesses Pulled Back On ‘Diversity, Equity, And Inclusion’ Programs This Year, New Report Finds – https://www.dailywire.com/news/businesses-pulled-back-on-diversity-equity-and-inclusion-programs-this-year-new-report-finds
[iii] LinkedIn Allows Recruiters To Filter Job Candidates By Race – https://www.dailywire.com/news/linkedin-allows-recruiters-to-filter-job-candidates-by-race?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=benshapiro
[iv] Jordan Peterson Is Right—Inequality Does Not Always Imply Discrimination – https://fee.org/articles/jordan-peterson-is-right-inequality-does-not-always-imply-discrimination/
[v] Improve Gender Representation in Your Candidate Pools with These Diversity Features – https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/improve-gender-representation-your-candidate-/
[vi] Improve Gender Representation in Your Candidate Pools with These Diversity Features – https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/improve-gender-representation-your-candidate-/
[vii] Jordan Peterson: Why the Western emphasis on individuals is the ultimate in intersectionality – https://nationalpost.com/opinion/jordan-peterson-why-the-western-emphasis-on-individuals-is-the-ultimate-in-intersectionality
[viii] ‘A Stunningly Corrupt Enterprise’: Jordan Peterson Blasts Academia, Resigns As Tenured Professor At University of Toronto – https://www.dailywire.com/news/a-stunningly-corrupt-enterprise-jordan-peterson-blasts-academia-resigns-as-tenured-professor-at-university-of-toronto
[ix] What is a Job Analysis & 7 Steps to Conduct One – https://www.humi.ca/blog-post/what-is-a-job-analysis?visitor_id=bfzqySg3X69wSR
[x] What is a cognitive ability test? – https://www.testgorilla.com/blog/cognitive-ability-tests-the-ultimate-guide-for-recruiters/#:~:text=A%20cognitive%20ability%20test%2C%20or,critical%20thinking%2C%20and%20numerical%20reasoning.
[Xi] History of Cognitive Assessment – http://psychology.iresearchnet.com/forensic-psychology/history-of-forensic-psychology/history-of-cognitive-assessment/
[Xii] 3 in 4 managers find it difficult to work with GenZ – https://www.resumebuilder.com/3-in-4-managers-find-it-difficult-to-work-with-genz/