Emotional Intelligence: How To Evaluate This “X Factor” In Candidates

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Emotional Intelligence: How To Evaluate This “X Factor” In Candidates

Emotional intelligence is the ability for individuals to recognize their own and other people’s emotions, to distinguish and understand feelings, to use emotion to guide thinking and to manage those emotions to adapt to an environment or situation. A term coined by psychologists, emotional intelligence (EI) has gained traction in the field of recruitment, and the reason is simple.

EI encompasses social skill, motivation and empathy, as well as self-awareness and self-regulation. People who possess these qualities work well with others tend to be natural leaders.

Beyond just skills, experience and “book smarts,” many savvy recruiters are factoring EI into their hiring processes. While this can take some extra thought up front, the payout is in an employee who not only grows with the company, but also helps take it to the next level.

It can be tempting to take shortcuts, but standard personality tests are not an accurate gauge of EI. Instead, take these things into consideration.


Start with the job description

First, when establishing a job posting, don’t just focus on the qualifications and responsibilities of the role. Consider the primary behaviors that would make someone successful in that position. Discuss with the client, consider the qualities they will need in an employee and what type of employee will fit the company’s culture.


Interview with EI in mind

This may sound obvious, but most of the time, it doesn’t happen. Often, recruiters and hiring managers accept vague answers without asking strong follow-up questions. Instead, ask questions that require the interviewer to use examples where they are the protagonist. Once they’ve shared their on-the-job example, dig in further. Go over the entire scenario asking specific questions about what he or she was thinking and feeling throughout. Ask for stories that provide examples of both successes and failures using this technique. Doing so will provide unique insight into how the candidate handles stress, challenges and working with others.


Speak to references

Ask for references from candidates, and have conversations with them. Similar to interviewing for EI, ask the references for specific examples, demonstrating EI aptitudes. Ask for many examples, and push for as much detail as possible. Finally, don’t just ask about how they handle work trials, but ask for examples that demonstrate how they work with and treat others.


Trust your gut

Don’t underestimate your own instinct. You may get a feeling from body language, articulation, and your overall connection. If you don’t get the right vibe from a candidate, ask yourself what impression they’d give the client. EI is that recruiting “X factor,” so some things you may not be able to put your finger on, but remember, it’s your reputation when you send a candidate to the client.

To learn more about using EI in recruiting and retaining the best employee talent, call 630-858-8500 or email info@innovativesys.com for more information.