The Power of Emotional Intelligence in the Recruitment Process

Have you ever heard of the term emotional intelligence? It’s a concept that has gained a lot of attention in recent years. But what exactly is emotional intelligence, and how does it relate to recruitment?


In this article, we’ll explore how embracing emotional intelligence provides valuable benefits throughout the recruitment process and how hiring teams can use it to make effective recruiting decisions.


What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence, or emotional quotient (EQ) as it’s sometimes referred to, can be defined as the ability to understand and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others.


Studies have shown that emotional intelligence is a crucial predictor of success in life and work. In fact, research by TalentSmart found that 90% of top performers have high EQ levels.


There are five main components of emotional intelligence:

  • Self-awareness: The ability to recognize and understand one’s own emotions.
  • Self-regulation: The ability to manage and control one’s emotions effectively.
  • Motivation: The drive and passion to achieve personal and professional goals.
  • Empathy: The ability to understand and share the feelings of others.
  • Social skills: The ability to build and maintain relationships with others.


The Growing Importance of Emotional Intelligence in Recruitment

In the past, recruitment focused mainly on technical skills and experience. However, times have changed, and employers are now placing a greater emphasis on emotional intelligence in the hiring process.


This is because organizations have realized that employees with high EQ can bring many benefits to the workplace, such as:

  • Strong communication skills: Individuals with high EQ can effectively communicate and collaborate with others.
  • Leadership potential: EQ has been linked to strong leadership skills, making employees with high EQ ideal candidates for leadership roles.
  • Adaptability: High EQ individuals can better adapt to new situations and environments, making them valuable assets in today’s workplace.
  • Conflict resolution: With strong emotional intelligence, individuals are better equipped to handle and resolve team conflicts. This can lead to a more harmonious and productive work environment.


Because of these benefits, employers are now incorporating emotional intelligence assessments into their recruitment process to identify candidates with these qualities.


How to Recognize Emotional Intelligence During the Interview Process

So now we know why emotional intelligence is essential in recruitment, but how can hiring managers and employers measure it in candidates?


Recognizing emotional intelligence in someone can be subjective. Still, certain traits and behaviors can indicate a high level of EQ. Some examples include:


  • Active listening: Individuals with high EQ actively listen to others and respond thoughtfully.
  • Self-awareness: Candidates who display self-awareness and can accurately describe their own strengths and weaknesses may have a higher level of EQ.
  • Empathy: During interviews, pay attention to how candidates respond to questions about working with others and their ability to understand the feelings of others.


During the interview process, there are a few key strategies that can help hiring managers assess emotional intelligence in candidates:


  • Behavioral interviewing: Asking open-ended questions that require candidates to provide examples of how they have handled difficult situations or conflicts can shed light on their level of self-awareness, self-regulation, and empathy.
  • Psychometric assessments: These tests measure a candidate’s emotional intelligence through a series of questions and scenarios.
  • Role-playing exercises: Giving candidates a scenario and having them act out a role-playing exercise can provide valuable insights into their social skills, empathy, and ability to handle different situations.
  • Asking for references: Contacting previous employers and colleagues can give a better understanding of how a candidate has demonstrated emotional intelligence in the workplace.


Using Assessments to Evaluate Emotional Intelligence

Assessments are a valuable tool for measuring emotional intelligence in candidates. Not only are they objective, but they can provide handy insights into the candidate’s potential for success within your organization.


Different types of assessments can measure various aspects of emotional intelligence, such as self-awareness or empathy. These include:


  1. Self-report questionnaires: These assessments ask candidates to rate themselves on a scale in response to different statements or scenarios.
  2. Situational judgment tests: Candidates are presented with various workplace scenarios and must choose the best course of action.
  3. Integrity tests: While not specifically for emotional intelligence, these tests measure honesty and integrity, which can be important traits for high EQ individuals.
  4. 360-degree feedback: This assessment gathers input from multiple sources, including peers and managers, to provide a well-rounded view of the candidate’s emotional intelligence.


Each type of assessment has its own strengths and weaknesses, and selecting the appropriate assessment depends on the goals of the evaluation and the specific skills being targeted.


Why Hiring Managers Need Emotional Intelligence

We’ve discussed the importance of emotional intelligence in candidates, but it’s equally important for hiring managers to possess high EQ, too. But why is this the case?


Firstly, a good recruiter should have self-awareness, i.e., knowledge of their own strengths and weaknesses, values and emotions. This is important during the decision-making process as it allows them to recognize any bias or personal preferences that may influence their decisions. High self-awareness will also enable recruiters to regulate their emotions and stay calm during high-pressure situations.


Secondly, every recruiter must have the drive and motivation to find the best candidate. Having a strong sense of purpose and understanding the positive impact their work has on the organization can be a great source of motivation. This is why recruiters with high EQ tend to be more successful in finding suitable candidates.


Lastly, to be successful in recruitment, you need to have empathy. This is the ability to understand and share the emotions of others. Recruiters who are empathetic can build stronger relationships with candidates and better understand their motivations and concerns. By having high levels of empathy, hiring managers can make more informed decisions that benefit both the organization and the candidate.


Final Thoughts

As we’ve discussed throughout the article, emotional intelligence is becoming increasingly important in recruitment. Employers can build a stronger and more successful team by recognizing and evaluating EQ during the hiring process. Likewise, hiring managers must possess high levels of emotional intelligence to make fair and effective decisions that benefit both the organization and the candidate.


So remember, when it comes to recruitment, don’t just focus on technical skills and experience but also consider the candidate’s emotional intelligence for long-term success.


Need help on your recruitment journey? We’re ready to transform your hiring strategy, secure top talent, and drive your business forward. Contact us today to see the difference we can make.

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