Why You Should Look for Candidates with Emotional Intelligence

Tara Klein
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Hiring managers have a long list of qualities that they look for in candidates but for some, one quality trumps the rest: Emotional Intelligence. In fact, Emotional intelligence is included on the World Economic Forum’s list of the top 10 skills that employees will need to have to be successful in the job force of the future. So, what is it and why is it so important?

We know that Intelligence (IQ) is one's ability to process information and use that information to problem solve and make decisions. Well, Emotional Intelligence is the ability to process and understand your own emotions and those of others to solve problems and make sound decisions. Daniel Goleman, an American psychologist who popularized the concept of Emotional Intelligence, outlines five key elements: Self-awareness, Self-regulation, Motivation, Empathy, and Social skills. Although we tend to think emotions and work are not related, the truth is that emotions are part of everything we do and every interaction we have. Employees that possess these elements bring value and benefit to the work place.

1. Self-awareness is the ability to accurately recognize your emotions, strengths, weaknesses, actions and understand how these affect others around you. Self-aware individuals are also able to see the relationship between how they feel and how they act.

Workplace Benefits: These employees can recognize their own strengths and weaknesses. They are better at handling constructive criticism and are more open to new ideas or the opinions of others.

2. Self-regulation is the way in which a person manages their emotions and reactions. It includes being able to express emotions appropriately and effectively and only when necessary. People with self-regulation also exhibit discipline and the ability to take responsibility for the things they say and do.

Workplace Benefits: These employees are calm and rational. They can adapt well to change and be highly effective in stressful situations.

3. Empathy is the ability to identify and understand the emotions of others. Empathy allows people to see someone else's perspective and grasp how certain things would affect them.

Workplace Benefits: These employees make great leaders and can be very successful at managing a team and gaining the respect of their colleagues. They tend to develop team members, listen closely to others' needs and provide helpful feedback. From a customer service perspective, these employees are able to understand client's needs more clearly. They are also able to make decisions that are better for the team not just themselves.

4. Motivation is the willingness to complete tasks and assignments. Self-motivated people have a desire to fulfill their own goals and needs.

Workplace Benefits: These employees are highly engaged and resilient through change and challenges. They tend to rely less on extrinsic factors for motivation like title, money, or attention. They set goals and work to achieve them.

5. Social skills are the skills needed to develop and manage relationships. This includes communications skills, conflict resolution, and persuasiveness.

Workplace Benefits: These employees make great leaders and team players. They build strong relationships with colleagues, employees, and customers alike. They trust and respect people and that emotion is usually reciprocated.

When reviewing resumes and interviewing candidates, there will always be required qualifications, education, and experience, but once those requirements are met Emotional Intelligence will be what sets someone apart. The skills that come with a high Emotional Intelligence are certain to make a positive impact in any organization.


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  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Connie R. thanks for your comment. 2+ yrs is a long time. Sounds like you are in healthcare. Have you tried to reach out to a recruiter? What about temp agencies? Sometimes they can get you in when all else fails. What about home health? Always looking for good healthcare professionals. What about contacting the HR of the hospitals that are local to you? What about reaching out to former coworkers to see if they have heard of any openings? What about networking events in your area? What about job fairs? Always ways to find jobs and to get your foot in the door. Keep looking - that next great adventure is right around the corner.

  • KARL C.
    KARL C.

    Sorry to say, the issue now is not ageism, it's Indianism.

  • Connie R.
    Connie R.

    I agree with Rich M. I took time off, initially it was to last for 2 months. Now, 2+ years later, I can't buy a job. Very few call backs, rude questions and the head to toe look are discriminating in my experience. But what can we do? Who is standing in our corner? Who will be able to care for patients when the computers go down for an extended time?

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    Thanks for your comment @Rich M. Sadly that seems to be true - 40 is now the new 60. And there doesn't seem to be an uproar over it, either. People just say it like it's always been this way when, in fact, this is a relatively new phenomenon. The issue here is that it's so hard to prove ageism. There are so many articles on the Internet regarding ageism - even starting at the age of 40. According to this article, https://www.forbes.com/sites/georgenehuang/2019/09/30/new-research-shows-ageism-starts-as-early-as-age-42--heres-how-employers-can-combat-age-discrimination/#867dd6343f22,, job seekers are trying to alter their appearance to look younger, taking courses to update their skills, removing dates from their resume and so on. But employers are starting to realize this also and some are taking action. So maybe the tides are starting to change - slowly. Employers are realizing that they can get more productive work out of their more senior employees. So don't stop looking for that next great opportunity. Just make sure you do your due diligence before applying for a job. If you check out a company and see that the majority of the employees are millennials, you might want to move on!

  • Rich M.
    Rich M.

    Why don't employers see this more often? You can get more work done if your workers are able to get along. It's like the old saying, "you can catch more flies with honey, than vinegar ". Also, if they didn't discriminate against the older generation(those over 40), you will find that they will stick around a lot longer than the under 40. The gays and all those groups cry civil rights, but what about the over 40? Where are their civil rights? Don't we have the right to be hired too? We are still just as productive as they are.

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