When you go to make a hiring decision, you base it off several things, like past work experience, likability, culture fit, etc. But we know that it often comes down to intellect. Sure likability is important, but Tech experts, specifically, must have the smarts to get the job done well. But by valuing intellect over everything we miss the true mark of a successful candidate: emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence, also referred to as EI or EQ (emotional quotient), is a buzzword everyone likes to throw around, including quasi-counselors on shows like The Bachelor. But it’s often an overused yet undervalued word when it comes to hiring.

Let's Get Emotional(ly Intelligent)

Emotional intelligence first picked up steam in the 90s with Daniel Goleman’s bestseller, “Emotional Intelligence.” The book outlined the five core constructs of EI, which are:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-regulation
  • Social Skills
  • Empathy
  • Motivation

Considering the findings in the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report that emotional intelligence will be one of the top 10 job skills by 2020, it’s critical hiring managers and C-level roles understand why hiring for this skill is critical to a successful business. As more of these hiring experts learn about EI, the skill set has started popping up on more job postings as one of the primary job requirements.

Studies throughout the past several years have noted EI as a core skill set of 90 percent of superstar performers in various industries, not high IQ like previously believed. (Which was only present in 70 percent of top performers.) So what do those with EQ, as some call it, do better? A lot actually.

Employees with high levels of emotional intelligence handle pressure and stress better by being aware of any changes in their emotions as they happen and implementing healthy coping mechanisms to relieve any stress or negative emotions to remain in control. They know when to take a step back rather than waiting until they reach their breaking point. Their empathetic nature allows them to collaborate effectively with and react accordingly to others from a diverse range of cultures and background, which reduces the occurrence of internal bickering or office politics.

These individuals also tend to have excellent listening skills and pick up on body language allowing them additional insight into conversations and the ability to easily adjust their behavior or work as recommended. They also know when to say no in terms of commitment and their ego for the betterment of the business.

Most of us get the general idea of emotional intelligence. But recognizing this in the hiring process is a serious challenge. Don’t stress though; we got you covered.

How to Spot Genuine Emotional Intelligence in an Interview

Before you get ahead of yourself and think identifying true signs of emotional intelligence in an interview will be impossible since candidates always talk themselves up, consider the following tips. (Trust us. You’ll be surprised at what you missed when you weren’t focused on noticing genuine EQ.)

  1. Transition your interview technique to behavioral event interviewing. Avoid commonly asked interview questions that candidates prep scripted answers for beforehand. Instead, make the interview informal, conversational, and warm at the start. It creates a more comfortable and friendly atmosphere that encourages honesty. Then delve into specific behavior-based questions. One positive and one negative experience-based question. After the initial basics, ask for more details. Looking into both these experiences in-depth will give you insight into their self-awareness levels, ability to empathize, self-regulation capabilities, and what their motivation was. Ask for various perspectives of the experiences from those involved to get an idea of their emotional awareness and maturity. Behavioral event interviewing comes with practice and gets a bit awkward at times, but will correctly identify whether the individuals have the EI skills you're looking for in the right candidate.
  2. Use your local resources. It's likely many of the employees in your business have high emotional intelligence, which was probably one of the reasons they were hired whether it was ever actually evaluated or put into words. Use these resources! Ask them for referrals to friends, colleagues, and connections that would fit well with your business that reflect the same emotional intelligence as the employee. They will feel encouraged that the impact of their EI didn't go unnoticed and will appreciate the opportunity to help identify the individuals, teams, and departments they'll work best with.
  3. Don't rely on personality tests. This may seem like the easy answer, but results are often far from accurate with these types of tests. They evaluate exactly what they say they do, personality, which is not the same as emotional intelligence. A face-to-face interview is the best way to identify EQ or the lack thereof.

Emotional intelligence is a driver of innovation, problem-solving, healthy business cultures, and effective collaboration. Organizations that prioritize high EQ in their employees and executives include major Tech innovators like Google and Amazon. Clearly, hiring for this skill set is paying off big for both of them.

If you lack the emotionally intelligent IT, Tech, or Digital Marketing experts you need to improve the solutions your business creates, contact Mondo today. We have the highly specialized professionals you need with the EQ your business is missing.