3 Ways to Hire for Emotional Intelligence

Think the best employee you can hire is the one with the most experience? Think again. In fact, research shows the best employees are those with emotional intelligence (EQ), which is the ability to recognise and regulate their feelings, work as a team and take criticism.

But how can you find candidates with high EQ? In our new eBook, How to Hire for Emotional Intelligence, we share strategies for identifying and closing the most emotionally intelligent candidates. Read on for a preview, and download the full eBook for more!

Know What You’re Looking For

There are a lot of different components to EQ — 12, to be exact. To hire someone with a high EQ, you must be able to identify these components and define which are most relevant to your organisation.

The 12 components are EQ are:

  • Emotional Self-awareness
  • Emotional Self-control
  • Adaptability
  • Achievement Orientation
  • Positive Outlook
  • Empathy
  • Organisational Awareness
  • Influence
  • Coaching
  • Conflict Management
  • Teamwork
  • Inspirational Leadership

Before you start the hiring process, ask yourself: Which of these EQ components are most important for a candidate to have? If you are filling a management position in a fast-paced environment, for example, you might prioritise someone who shows empathy and adaptability.

[Related: 4 Tips for Hiring for Culture Fit]

Ask the Right Questions

To measure how much EQ a job candidate has, you’ll need to ask questions that reveal how the candidate would react in a given situation. In other words, you have to go beyond what is on the candidate’s resume and instead, dive into questions that reveal their personality.

Consider what challenging situations the candidate might encounter should he or she land the job, then ask a related question. For example, if the job is high-stress, ask the candidate to describe a time when they dealt with a stressful time at work — or, if the job requires the candidate to deal with customers, ask them how they might respond to an upset customer.

And if the candidate gives a generic response, try to push for additional and specific details.

[Related: Behavioural Interviewing Questions and Templates]

Administer a Test

There are also tests that measure someone’s EQ. (One such test is the BarOn EQ-i®, which many consider to be the best EQ test out there.) These types of tests typically take 20-30 minutes to complete, so they can easily be administered during an office interview.

However, these tests are expensive — and you may need to attend training in order to give them. You’ll have to weigh whether the expense is worth it to help you ID the right person.

Just remember: However you choose to evaluate job candidates’ EQ, don’t overlook it. It may take more work to screen for EQ, but your business will soon see the benefits.