Lately, I’ve noticed that my clients have been getting great website traffic around blog posts written about emotional intelligence. It seems that articles featuring this topic have popped up all over my Facebook and Twitter feeds, as well. What is emotional intelligence and why do people want to know so much about it? Also, why don’t I believe my clients who say they don’t want to hire for emotional intelligence?
What is Emotional Intelligence?
The term “emotional intelligence” is what psychologists refer to the skills needed to manage your own emotions, as well as recognize and react to others’ emotions. A popular model that measures these skills focuses on five points: Self-awareness, self-management, motivation, empathy and social skills. Having strong emotional intelligence skills allows you to move more seamlessly through life when you’re dealing with other people. This has nothing to do with being introverted or extroverted, it’s how you respond to all human contact.
Why is Emotional Intelligence So Important at Work?
Simply put, having strong emotional intelligence skills makes a candidate the ultimate team player. It’s easier for them to fit into workplace culture, and their co-workers will view them in a more positive light. They’re better at conflict resolution, they’ll know when to be quiet in a meeting, and they’ll remember to act professionally when someone gets under their skin. It may also be easier for them to find and keep employment.
Why Should Staffing Firms Care and Why Don’t I Believe the Ones Who Say They Don’t?
Employers want to build the best team possible, and staffing firms who supply candidates to their clients should be aware of whether or not a candidate will be a good fit for workplace culture. If you send a candidate to the interview who can’t read the room or control their reactions to questions from a hiring manager, you may not work with this client again.
The reason why I don’t believe my clients who say they don’t care about emotional intelligence is because it’s impossible to consider a candidate without evaluating their social skills. It’s the gut feeling you get when you like or dislike someone for the job. Maybe you leave with a positive feeling toward a candidate and you just can’t put your thumb on why. It’s because the candidate displayed strong elements of emotional intelligence, in other words, they’re likeable.
Sure, you can disregard emotional intelligence skills and hire someone with the background you’re looking for, but this candidate could have a harder time assimilating into the business’ culture, managing employees effectively, or even making acquaintances.
When you’re selecting your next candidates, remember that emotional intelligence skills are just as important as job-related skills. And don’t be afraid to admit that they factor into your hiring process.