Can Using Emotional Intelligence Help You Choose a Better Employee?

Over the past fifteen years it has become clear to us that employers often struggle to choose the best hire. The right person/right fit is often more difficult to zero in on than the pure evaluation of hard skills. What can minimize those questionable hires?

Organizations that develop hiring and training protocols based on emotional intelligence (EI) give themselves a significant marketplace advantage.

So how do we find employees with high EI?

I am going to suggest a couple of tools: “Behaviour Descriptive Interviewing” by Janz, Hellervik and Gilmore (ISBN 0 205 08597 0), and “The EQ Interview” by Adele B. Lynn (ISBN 978-0-8144-0941-1). This last one is essential reading for HR professionals who are involved in hiring (as well as being a great tool for those going through the interview process). The author advances the insights from BDI and discusses strategies and key questions to help employers get closer to an optimal hire. The book has many sample questions that can be incorporated into an interview.

Lynn defines emotional intelligence as a person’s ability to manage themselves well in relationships with others so that they can live with their intentions. If we are to understand to what extent an individual possesses EI and can demonstrate it in an interview, then the interview questions are paramount. Using EI gets to the core competencies that organizations need to understand about their potential hires, things like “self-awareness, empathy, mastery of purpose and vision, social expertness, and personal influence.” These competencies get to the core of the job and workplace fit.

In today’s labour market, jobs are complex and the workplace is complex. A good hire starts with good interview questions. It makes sense to invest time and effort during hiring, rather than spending valuable resources after the fact trying to fix what can be difficult to remedy.

There are many benefits to using EI questions when hiring. But more importantly, it makes good business sense.

MLEK provides training, consulting and strategic advice to the public, private, not-for-profit and academic sectors. The firm specializes in leadership, communications, innovation, management, ethics and emotional intelligence. The MLEK team connects client needs to leading-edge best practices.

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