Emotional Intelligence: Does it really matter to your recruitment process?
Emotional Intelligence: Does it really matter to your recruitment process?

Emotional Intelligence: Does it really matter to your recruitment process?

Emotional Intelligence: Does it really matter to your recruitment process?

According to the Association for Talent Development emotional intelligence is more important to job performance than any other leadership skill. It is said that our emotional intelligence  is more than twice as important as our technical knowledge. If this is true, there is no doubt that organisations should be paying attention to emotional intelligence, not just in their recruitment processes.

What is Emotional Intelligence? Why is it important? 

Emotional intelligence consists of four attributes: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. Forbes describes it as ‘the act of knowing, understanding, and responding to emotions, overcoming stress in the moment, and being aware of how your words and actions affect others’.

Picture someone who never lets his or her temper get out of control, no matter what problems they are facing. Or you might think of someone who has the complete trust of their staff, listens to their team, is easy to talk to, and always makes careful, informed decisions.

Conversely, a leader lacking in emotional intelligence is less able to gauge the needs, wants and expectations of others. They are more likely to react from their emotions without filtering them , creating mistrust amongst their team, which can seriously jeopardise their working relationships.

For leaders, having emotional intelligence is essential for success. After all, who is more likely to succeed – a leader who shouts at his or her team when they are under stress, or a leader who stays in control, and calmly assesses the situation?

So how can we measure Emotional Intelligence in the recruitment process?

There are two key ways to measure emotional intelligence in the recruitment process. Firstly, you can put candidates through a psychometric evaluation and get a report on their emotional intelligence. Whilst this is of value, if you rely on this data alone, there is a danger of hiring candidates based upon numerical scores which don’t materialise into appropriate behaviour in the work place as well as dismissing candidates who may not score highly overall, but do possess skills in exactly the areas needed for your job or organisation.

As with all psychometric evaluations, we recommend they are not used in isolation. True value comes from the work you put in after the report is printed. The next stage, is to assess behaviour which demonstrates emotional intelligence.

Consider the attributes of someone with high emotional intelligence. It is likely that you are already seeking candidates with these traits. However, all too often, our recruitment processes focus on the technical ability of the candidate.

Emotional Intelligence traits might include:

  1. Adaptable
  2. Able to influence key stakeholders
  3. Strong communication
  4. Able to negotiate
  5. Problem-solving
  6. Articulate
  7. Team player
  8. Self-motivated

To effectively assess these type of behaviour, we recommend that you ask for examples of actually demonstrating them so you can get a picture of their emotional intelligence ‘in action’ in the work place.

This is sometimes called ‘behavioural event interviewing’….and it takes practice!  Asking for examples is only the first step.  After the candidate has talked about the event, it is essential to probe a bit more to get enough detail in each story. There is no need to ask the person to go back over portions of the story, rather, try to get them to tell you the story from a couple of vantage points i.e. what he or she thought, what they felt, and then what they actually did. Take your time: this is not the kind of interview you can do in half an hour. But the time is well spent.

Behavioural event interviewing can not only give you a sense of candidates’ emotional intelligence, it can help you assess their values and whether they deliver through personal performance or the performance of others, which is essential for leadership positions. i.e. do they use ‘I’ and ‘me’ descriptions or ‘us’ and ‘we’?

Getting Emotional over Emotional Intelligence! Get Expert Help!

PlusHR can co-ordinate online assessments to identify key behavioural competencies. Get in touch now by calling +44 (0)20 3751 4422 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to find out more.

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