It can be a real challenge to evaluate candidates based solely on their skills and experience. This is why many businesses are beginning to introduce tests and processes to assess candidates’ emotional intelligence, particularly in roles where communication, collaboration and empathy are key to success.
This blog will examine what emotional intelligence is for recruiters and how testing for emotional intelligence can help you recruit more effectively.
What is emotional intelligence?
Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to perceive, control and evaluate emotions. This impacts on how well you communicate, empathise, lead, negotiate, and build relationships.
Why emotional intelligence is important in modern recruitment
In a 2016 survey by the World Economic forum, emotional intelligence was considered by leading global employers to be one of the most important skills that workers will need in 2020. Alongside creativity, critical thinking and cognitive flexibility, this is a skillset that recruiters must now be attuned to when assessing candidates for your clients.
Recruitment has traditionally focused on assessing qualifications, experience and skills. Although these are, and always will be, critical components for assessing candidates, emotional intelligence can also be a useful barometer for specific roles that require soft skills. By assessing the emotional intelligence of candidates, you will be better equipped to find the right role and company fit that CVs and documents cannot provide alone.
How understanding emotional intelligence can help you identify better candidates
Understanding emotional intelligence can help you identify traits and characteristics that will help you understand how candidates respond to work situations such as:
- High pressure environments.
- Working with different team members and groups.
- Working with different levels of seniority.
- Customer interfacing, especially in a customer service, complaints or account management.
- Different working environments e.g working unsupervised or remotely.
These gauges also give a good idea about their attitude, styling of learning and/or coaching/management and whether they share the values of the role or culture fit
Assessing this can potentially also offer insights into the level of commitment the candidate might have to the role i.e. how long they are likely to stay.
7 ways to evaluate emotional intelligence in a candidate
It’s clear that assessing emotional intelligence can provide valuable insights for recruiters. So, how do you identify emotional intelligence in a candidate?
- Pay attention to the language that they use when describing emotions. The more specific they are, the more likely they are to exhibit emotionally intelligent behaviours.
- Observe their language, both verbal and physical, to see if they are adaptable and open to change.
- Notice their levels of self-awareness. Are they honest about their strengths and weaknesses? Did they describe situations where they have been open to self-improvement? Have they shown evidence of incorporating feedback into their work; positive or negative? Alarm bells should be ringing if they revert to cliched language to describe these aspects of themselves.
- Note whether they display empathetic behaviours and/or show interest about other employees’ roles and how they will fit into the team.
- Pay attention to whether they tend to take offence easily or appear to hold grudges.
- Consider asking a question based on how the candidate dealt with a frustrating situation at work and how they chose to deal with it. If they explain the situation clearly and objectively, show self-awareness, were open to taking responsibility for their role in the conflict and demonstrated a keenness to understand others’ reactions you’re on to a winner.
- Observe their reactions when asked to explain and re-explain a situation. An emotionally intelligent candidate will remain unflustered and adapt their explanation to one they think will suit your needs.
Incorporating emotional intelligence testing into your candidate selection process can provide genuinely useful information about how a candidate will fit into a particular business, and how likely they will be to succeed in the role, long term.
For a more detailed look at everything you need to know about building an exceptional recruitment team, download the guide today!