What exactly is EQ and why is it important for hiring?

EQ - otherwise known as emotional intelligence - is a hot topic in hiring today. Most of our clients at Bloom Talent are specifically asking for candidates with a high EQ. Why? Because it’s super important for companies to hire people that are level headed and can work well with others.

We all know people (whether at work or in our personal lives) that are really great listeners. They make us feel heard, they give us good eye contact and often know just what to say in difficult situations. They tend to be solutions oriented people and don’t let their emotions run wild. They can empathize with others and seek to understand other viewpoints. Sound familiar? These type of people have high EQ’s.

The definition of emotional intelligence is, ‘the ability to monitor your own emotions as well as the emotions of others, to distinguish between and label different emotions correctly, and to use emotional information to guide your thinking and behavior and influence that of others. It also involves your perception of others; when you understand how they feel, this allows you to manage relationships more effectively.’ (Daniel Goleman, 1995).

Why this is important is because it allows us to understand ourselves better. It can help you stay grounded in stressful situations. It helps you manage your own emotions and it helps you understand the people around you better. Studies have also shown this leads to a happier and more fulfilled life.

Based off Daniel Goleman’s book, “Emotional Intelligence - why It Can Matter More than IQ” there are 5 characteristics that indicate a strong emotional intelligence:

  1. Self Awareness

  2. Self Regulation

  3. Motivation

  4. Empathy

  5. Social Skills

These five characteristics should be key indicators when hiring! Here is why:

  • Hire people that are self-aware and able to take responsibility and ownership of their own actions.

  • Hire people that can self-regulate and control their emotions and impulses and remain level headed even in the most stressful times.

  • Hire people that are naturally motivated and eager to be productive and proactive without being pushed. Why? Because these people can manage themselves. They often have that grit and adaptability you are looking for.

  • Hire people with a high degree of empathy so that they can work well with others and cross functionally. It is important to hire people that respect a different perspective and seek to understand where their team members are coming from. This usually establishes trust within the team. People with a high degree of empathy usually grow into great leaders and managers within an organization.

  • Hire people with social skills because they enjoy building relationships, inspiring others and raise their hand to be mentors. This ultimately leads to good company morale and retention.

Want to improve your EQ in the workplace? Here are some tips:

  1. Take some time to self-evaluate. Are you able to regulate your emotions and impulses when you experience confrontation with other team members? If not - try to understand why these experiences trigger emotions. Spend some time understanding your reactions to others and think through how you could do it differently next time.

  2. Do you get easily frustrated by co-workers? If so - make an effort to get to know them better. Perhaps you will learn something new about them and their personality which will help you empathize with them more in future scenarios.

  3. Go out to lunch with team members that you’re hoping to build relationships with. Practice good listening. Offer to get more involved in company programs or events so that you can practice your social skills with new people.

  4. Observe how you react to others. Could your reaction be more mindful and solutions oriented vs. frustrated and angry? If so - practice a more positive reaction. In the end, it will make you feel better.

  5. Are you lacking motivation? Spend some time with yourself to understand why this is. Motivation leads to great ideas, internal happiness and getting things done. If this isn’t happening it’s important to change things up so that you can become more motivated. This requires some self work!

In today’s world - it is important that we value EQ as much as IQ if we want to build successful teams. As most companies grow, especially quickly, it’s important to remember that a key component to the success of a company is their team. Teams working cohesively should be a high priority. Try incorporating questions into your interview processes that vet for EQ - it will make a big difference for future hires and the overall success of your company.

Found this helpful? Check out our blog for more helpful tips on interviewing & hiring.

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