Intelligence is one important factor in success. However, there is more than one type of intelligence, and one that is being considered more and more in corporate America is emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence, or EQ, encompasses far more than simply a person’s feelings; it determines how they relate to others, their management style, their ability to manage their emotions, and their ability to manage their own job performance.
By assessing a job candidate for their emotional intelligence, you don’t rely solely on their past job duties and experiences—you also have the option of predicting how they will behave in the workplace if you hire them. According to Adele B. Lynn, author of The EQ Interview: Finding Employees with High Emotional Intelligence, EQ “accounts for anywhere from 24% to 69% of performance success.”
Christina Bielaszka-DuVernay, the editor of Harvard Management Update, says that there are three key behavior types that you will see in your employees when you hire those with high EQ:
- They are self-aware and self-regulating; they know what deep emotional needs that drive them, and when those needs and desires cause emotions, they take steps to regulate the nonverbal and verbal messages they are sending out. A person with low emotional intelligence would not be aware of what drives them, such as a need for recognition or a desire to avoid anxiety, and when situations cause them internal conflict they may have outbursts unexpectedly, which can be difficult to deal with from within the workplace.
- People with high EQ are not just capable of reading their own needs, but those emotional needs of others as well, and can recognize cues that people around them are pleased, dissatisfied, impatient, or in other states, and can respond appropriately and constructively.
- Emotionally intelligent people are able to learn from their mistakes, and examine themselves for ways to improve, rather than going on the defensive. Because of the desire to improve, they are very coachable.
Behavioral interviewing can be very helpful in determining a candidate’s EQ. Questions about past experiences that delve into what they did when they made a mistake, and how did they know that they had made a mistake, or how they dealt with conflict with a peer or manager, can reveal a lot about whether the candidate might be deaf and blind to the social dynamics around them, or if they will be responsive, productive, and responsible.
When interviewing, some red flags that a person may have low emotional intelligence are criticizing others they have worked with, demonstrating poor social skills or impulse control, showing a lack of interest or preparation in the task at hand, and treating others with disrespect, according to the leadership development organization The Charmm’d Foundation. What you want in an employee, instead, is someone who is enthusiastic about their work, listens to other people, can work independently or with others, can consider a variety of perspectives, and exhibits good self-control.
In addition to behavioral interviewing, there are several EQ assessment tools that can be used instead of or in addition to behavioral interviewing. These assessment tools include the Emotional and Social Competence Inventory (ESCI) and the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence test (MSCEIT).
More and more company leaders understand the value of employees with solid emotional intelligence when they hire new team members. If you aren’t yet incorporating EQ into your hiring process, now is the time.
What steps are you going to take to incorporate EQ into the job requirements of your current and future employees?