Emotional Intelligence Recruitment

Emotional Intelligence is not a ‘soft skill’ rather it’s the critical skill and it should be the first requirement on any recruitment brief.

Despite all of the evidence in support, most people still believe that Emotional Intelligence (EI) is a warm and fuzzy type of thing that’s a nice to have but isn’t really essential for Success.

Unfortunately, there are a number of organisations that still hire their leaders based on technical expertise, experience and general intelligence (or IQ), and don’t consider Emotional Intelligence at all.

As an Executive Recruiter, this continues to baffle me, given that numerous studies have shown that the most critical factors driving leadership and organisational success is Emotional Intelligence.

Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, puts it this way: “Research shows convincingly that EQ is many times more important (than IQ) in leadership roles. This finding is accentuated as we move from the control philosophy of the industrial age to an empowering release philosophy of the knowledge worker age.”

The Harvard Business Review states that Emotional intelligence is “the key to professional success”. We already know that 75% of careers are derailed for reasons related to emotional competencies, including inability to handle interpersonal problems; unsatisfactory team leadership during times of difficulty or conflict; or inability to adapt to change or elicit trust. (The Centre for Creative Leadership).

Emotional Intelligence is the ability to be aware of our own emotions, and those of others – in the moment – and to use that information to manage ourselves and manage our relationships.

For the Emotionally Intelligent Leader to be effective, they must first understand themselves, and be aware of their own emotions. A leader can’t lead or support their team’s well-being, development and sense of self-worth without first understanding how they function on an emotional level.

Each and every day we all make decisions based on our emotions. We think option 1 is better than option 2 and we rely on our gut instincts. Once we understand why we are experiencing these emotions, we are more at attuned to sound judgement – considering all the facts and making the right decision.

Leaders who express a high degree of Emotional Intelligence have shown that they:

• Can Handle Stress and Pressure in a Healthy way – more aware of their stress triggers and have healthy ways to relieve that stress.

• Function better in a team – well developed people skills that let them build relationships with a diverse range of people across many different backgrounds.

• Are Good Listeners – the ability to listen well and respond to others whilst putting their own emotions and bias to the side.

• Are More Open to Feedback – less defensive and open to feedback. They are able to discern between their emotions, and understand the context of any feedback.

• Show Empathy – leaders build trust and confidence through their ability to be sensitive to what others are saying and for what reason.

• Make thoughtful decisions – are able to make better judgements about how their decisions will impact others.

• Can Diffuse Conflict – by understanding the perspectives of all involved and teasing out solutions that all parties can endorse.

I believe that including an assessment of Emotional Intelligence is just as important, if not more so, than reviewing job competence and undertaking reference checks.

Sure, you are only going to interview those candidates that have the technical capacity but by assessing their Emotional Intelligence, because after all, a person can have the best training in the world, an incisive, analytical mind and an endless supply of smart ideas, but they still won’t make a great leader.

To learn more about Emotional Intelligence and Executive Recruitment click HERE.