Hiring For Emotional Intelligence

The phrase Emotional Intelligence (EQ) has been around for a few years now.   Many may have a good understanding of what Emotional Intelligence actual is, however, but have you considered EQ’s role in your hiring process?


Research has shown that people who manage and understand their emotions and can identify the emotions of those around them make better leaders.  When leaders can identify these emotions, they are better able to deal with stress.  They are able to overcome obstacles better and are able to inspire others to achieve team and company goals.  Employees who have a high level of emotional intelligence can also manage conflict and build strong and committed teams.   Employees with a low level of EQ may actually have a high IQ, but are less adaptable.  These employees tend to lack basic self-awareness and don’t often recognize the impact their emotions have on the people around them.  A critical component of a highly effective teams is trust and people with a high EQ have the ability to gain more trust from the people with whom they work. With all these facts about our workforce, why aren’t we gearing our interview process toward hiring more emotionally intelligent workers?

According to the US Department of Labor, the average cost of a bad hiring decision can equal 30% of the individuals first-year potential earnings.   Because we are not focused on hiring individuals with EQ, individuals who fit with our company culture and can work well with our team and manage others appropriately, we are throwing money right out the window.

The Hiring Process

So how do we begin hiring more emotionally intelligent people?  Start with an EQ assessment.  By beginning with an Emotional Intelligence assessment, you can gain insight into the overall EQ score of an individual.  You will have a good idea how well your candidate does with self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management.  Then, you are able to generate interview questions based on the candidates results.

Build guidelines on identifying a high level of emotional intelligence on candidates through interview questions that deal with:  conflict management, teamwork, personal behavior, opportunities for improvement, relationships with others, and sense of pride and accomplishment.

Training your hiring managers on emotional intelligence and educating them on what to look for when interviewing will ensure that your interview process is vetting hires that will make a positive impact on your organization.

Happy Hiring!