Recruiting for Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence

We all have an appreciation for the importance of emotional qualities in a person within the workplace.  It was Peter Salovey and John Mayer (1990) who, in looking at a wide range of personalities and reactions to certain situations, first introduced us to the concept of emotional intelligence (EQ) and found that:

  • People need to be able to accurately perceive emotions in themselves and others, whilst having the ability to express their own emotions effectively.
  • People need to be aware of how their emotions shape their thinking, decisions, and coping mechanisms.
  • People need to be able to understand and analyse their emotions, which may often be complex and contradictory.
  • People need to be able to regulate their emotions so that they can dampen negative emotions and make effective use of positive emotions.

Characteristically, employees with high EQs are more likely to stay calm under pressure, express empathy towards their team members, admit and learn from their faults, lead by example, understand how to settle conflict efficiently, receive criticism well and show grace under pressure.

But how can identifying a person’s EQ be incorporated into the recruitment process?

Personality Profiling

More and more businesses are turning to personality profiling to see if potential and current employees are right for their company, and when used in a professional manner, personality profiling can be an important part of the recruitment process, assisting HR and Hiring Managers in finding a ‘fit’ between job seeker and employer.

So why use personality tests?

There are some well researched, highly reliable, personality profiling tools out there that have potential to bring a great deal to the recruitment process, enabling employers to find out much more about an interviewee than the age old “what are your strengths and weaknesses?” question.

If taken before an interview, personality testing can help in narrowing the selection of applicants by giving insight into the applicant and helping employers decide which respondents should be invited for an interview.  Testing prior to interview can also aid in helping managers decide which questions they should ask at interview.

Personality testing also offers a deeper insight into how a person might fit into a company’s work culture, thereby being extremely useful in detecting interpersonal characteristics that may be required to function successfully in a particular job role.

However, it is important to remember not to use personality tests as the only instrument for selection.  Even if an applicant answers the personality test perfectly, it does not guarantee they will be the perfect fit for the job and will carry through with the same level of EQ if they are offered a role within the company.