Identifying Emotional Intelligence in Hiring (And Why it Matters)

More than 20 years ago, research found that individuals with average IQs were outperforming those with with the highest IQs 70% of the time. Going against the rationale at the time that the most “book smart” employees would be the most successful, researchers dug deeper to understand why. Eventually, researchers found that emotional intelligence was the key ingredient of success that separated the most successful from the rest of the pack.

What is Emotional Intelligence?ID-10066391

Pause for a moment to think about the tasks that encompass your day. Surely there are hard skills necessary to complete them. According to the experts at Talent Smart, who literally wrote the book on emotional intelligence, emotional intelligence (sometimes referred to as emotional quotient or EQ) is the bit extra in each of us that helps us “manage behavior, navigate social complexities and make personal decisions that achieve positive results.”

Emotional Intelligence and Hiring

In all likelihood, your organization has hired a candidate who simply didn’t work out. This can result in low employee morale, increased cost, loss of productivity and more — the impact on an organization can be disastrous. Factoring emotional intelligence into your hiring decisions can help mitigate the risk and offer an added layer of insight into candidates before you make a decision.

While emotional intelligence is comprised of multiple aspects, Harvard Business Review’s Christina Bielaszka-DuVernay recommends focusing on these three aspects to help you identify potential high-EQ candidates:

  1. Self-awareness and self-regulation. Look for insights into the needs and wishes that drive candidates and how they affect their behavior. Candidates who are more likely to be successful can regulate their emotions to prevent any fear, anger or anxiety they experience from spreading to colleagues or result in a loss of control.
  2. Reading others and recognizing the impact of his or her behavior on them. Candidates who have well-developed emotional and social “radar” and can sense how their words and actions influence colleagues are more likely to be successful within your organization.
  3. The ability to learn from mistakes. Candidates who can acknowledge their mistakes, reflect critically upon them and learn from them are ideal choices for any organization.

How to Find Candidates with High Emotional Intelligence

Finding high-EQ candidates doesn’t have to mean overhauling your hiring process. Ask these questions to identify the best candidates:

  • What bothers you most about previous coworkers?
  • Tell me about a time you helped out a coworker.
  • When was the last time you had a bad day? What went wrong?
  • What has been your favorite professional relationship? Why do you think it was successful?
  • What are you most proud of in your career? Why?
  • Who inspires you (and why)?

Asking the right questions to determine EQ means getting the right candidates in the door for interviews. At Helpmates, we have strong relationships with top talent across Southern California. We’ll help you find the best talent to help your organization reach its goals. Contact your nearest Helpmates office today to get started.

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3 Key Areas to Review in Cover Letters

A few months ago, we talked about key areas recruiters should review in candidate resumes for more efficient screening. But what about cover letters? Has the range of expert advice shared about cover letters over the years rendered them useless during the hiring process?

Cover letters can still be a valuable hiring tool.ID-100123324

Looking at cover letters as an art instead of a science (as many experts have proclaimed over the years) can help you appreciate this tool in a new way. Candidates who put extra effort into a memorable cover letter could very well be the creative problem-solvers your organization is looking for! Plus, spending a few extra seconds on the cover letter can help you determine whether reading the resume is even worth your time.

Be on the lookout for these three keys:

  1. Spelling and grammar. Don’t get ahead of us here, this might not be what you are expecting. Spelling is an area where there is no debate – a misspelled word on resumes is just a bad sign. But when it comes to grammar, you may want to relax a bit. Today’s business language isn’t nearly as formal as it was 20 or even 10 years ago. Take this blog, for example – professionals are speaking more, well, human! So rather than grade candidates on whether they can write a formal letter that sticks to all the formatting suggested by those experts, take a look at how the cover letter is written. Are they speaking to you or at you? Can you feel the candidate’s enthusiasm through the use of language?
  2. The “meat.” One reason many recruiters scan or skip cover letters is that candidates often simply use the cover letter as a summary of their resume. It makes sense to skip it, then – why read a summary of the resume when the resume is right in front you?! Exceptional candidates who can make an impact on your business will use the “meat” of their cover letter to add insight that illuminates the resume or ties together their work history to paint the big picture and offer true perspective on this candidate, his or her career and ultimately, his or her potential within your organization.
  3. The close. The cover letter close seems innocuous enough – “Here’s my contact information and I’d appreciate it if you would schedule an interview.” But it’s also pretty yawn inducing much of the time. Creative candidates with real potential will use the close as an opportunity to further demonstrate their enthusiasm and make you enthusiastic about talking to them! Don’t just scan the close, read it carefully – are you excited about the candidate? Or are you ready to toss the resume altogether?

Knowing what to look for in candidate cover letters can help you be more efficient while screening candidates, and could ultimately help you land your next office superstar. If you’re struggling to find and identify the top talent your organization needs, call Helpmates. We specialize in finding precisely the talent businesses need to reach and exceed their goals.

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