Importance of EQ in Recruitment

Glass half empty or half full” is a well-known phrase, generally used to exhibit that a situation may be seen in different ways and there may be an opportunity in the situation as well as trouble.

Likewise, though this pandemic has come with social distancing restrictions, it has also provided an opportunity to reinvent various outdated methods in almost every walk of life. It has had its effects on recruitment as well. Previously interview processes were simple – organizations would identify the hiring needs, post the job description, search for talent, have rounds of interview evaluation against the job skills leading to the final offer of employment. This was the traditional method, but the COVID-19 pandemic has made many organizations reinvent their hiring process and use next-gen technology solutions to hire virtually. Altimetrik has been a pioneer on this path from years before all this happened and hires not only for the job skills but also evaluates various other skills relevant to digital work culture.

One element that has come up into the picture in a big way is evaluating a person’s Emotional Intelligence or EQ.  It is becoming one of the most in-demand ‘soft skills’ in the workplace these days, with most of the repetitive and routine tasks getting automated. According to a recent study, 76% of managers believe that employees should develop skills, such as empathy, persuasion, and teamwork to adapt to roles that deal more with people – customers, colleagues, investors, shareholders, and so on. Whatever be the role, it’s ultimately people dealing with people. 83% of companies say that having staff with higher emotional intelligence will be essential to achieving success in the coming years. Many organizations have begun assessing candidates’ emotional intelligence, particularly in roles where communication, collaboration, and empathy are key to success.

Now as a recruiter, how does one evaluate a candidate’s EQ? A candidate might score high in a coding challenge, but it is not a sufficient indicator to evaluate a person based on their skills and experience to gauge their emotional intelligence?

What does EQ essentially mean: It is the ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others.
Understanding this can help us in identifying characteristics that emerge from how the candidate responds to work situations such as:
High-pressure environments
Working with diverse team members and group
Working with different levels of senioririty
Different working environments e.g., working unsupervised or remotely

To evaluate emotional intelligence in candidates, we can give them hypothetical scenarios to notice:

Levels of self-awareness
Language, both verbal and physical, to see if they are adaptable and open to change
Reactions when explaining or re-explaining a situation
Empathy and emotional conditions to drive outcomes

The emotional intelligence of the candidates can be evaluated during the interview by posing them a few questions such as:

Can you describe a time you were given critical feedback?
Can you describe a time when you had to have a difficult conversation?
Can you describe a time when there was tension or conflict on a team?
Can you describe a time a change was instituted that you didn’t agree with?
Can you describe a time when you had to come up with a creative solution under pressure?
Can you describe a time you made a mistake?

The answers provided by the candidates to these questions will help us understand their thought processes and mentality in a working environment.  The interviewers should come up with follow-up questions to understand how they felt during that time.

Incorporating EQ in the interview process will assist in identifying the right characteristics of candidates to fit into the role, culture and give an idea on how likely they will be able to succeed in the long term.