You’re evaluating candidates for an open position and go through the standard checklist. You verify things like grades, degrees, certifications, and years of industry experience. On paper you’ve found the perfect person, but what about what isn’t apparent on paper?
Too often HR hires for pedigree rather than less visible skills that can really make a difference. How about someone’s ability to work in a team environment? What about willingness to adapt to change? How do they handle adversity in the workplace?
You won’t find that type of information on a candidate’s resume.
Emotional intelligence is a hot topic. Research shows that employees who are self-aware and able to self-regulate are valuable hires. Those who embrace diversity, face challenges with a steady head, and are empathetic toward others are not only a positive part of a team, but can have a positive influence on it. These are the people that become role models and very well could be the future leaders at the organization!
In today’s workplace, stress is common and change is steady. Emotional intelligence matters in every industry. It’s the person who can take critique and learn from mistakes. It’s the person who is a problem-solver, not a problem-dweller. It’s the person who models positive attitude and doesn’t let a bad day ruin the week.
Some people have it and some people don’t.
The biggest challenge is it’s difficult to determine a candidate’s emotional IQ through traditional interview techniques. While some companies have adopted different types of personality quizzes in order to learn emotional intelligence indicators, these tests are quite subjective. A better way is to present thoughtful questions throughout an interview in order to probe for more information.
After going over the standards and getting a candidate comfortable at the interview, it’s time to do a little digging. The biggest mistake interviewers make is allowing candidates to give vague answers without asking follow-up questions. For example, ask the candidate to explain a situation where they felt proud of the solution to a problem. Be sure to get details. Then ask them about a situation where they failed. Again, get details.
Not only inquire what the candidate did throughout each event, but ask how they felt. The answers provided can give key insight into emotional intelligence. If a candidate demonstrates they were aware of their feelings in both the positive and negative example, plus acted appropriately throughout each, it’s a good sign of high emotional IQ.
Another effective method for learning more about a candidate’s emotional IQ is to speak to references. Don’t just get a list and ask generic questions. Just like you probed in the candidate interview, do the same during the reference conversation. Go beyond simply asking if they’d recommend a candidate. You want to know how they work with and treat others.
As the working world continues to evolve, the value of emotional intelligence will continue to increase. Hiring managers who know how to pluck candidates with strengths in these areas will be rewarded with top talent that performs well on multiple levels.