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[BLOG] The Recruitment Case for Emotional Intelligence

May 22, 2019

A survey by the World Economic Forum in 2018 placed Emotional Intelligence in the top 10 trending skills by employers in 2022[1]. But, are we prepared…?

As we alluded to in our last article on leadership and management, ‘softer skills’ or the ability to be a caring, connected, and trustworthy character are gaining traction in the business world.

In line with this, Emotional intelligence (EI), a prerequisite to many soft skills is progressively becoming as intrinsic to the workplace as IQ. Increasingly diverse workforces requiring individuals who can listen and empathise with several individuals from different backgrounds and cultures, the stresses of rapidly changing business environments, cross-border collaboration and gradually open office spaces are all contributing to a landscape which requires strong emotional control.

From top executives taking leadership courses to improve their own emotional intelligence to hiring processes assessing the cultural fit of a new joiner, EI is really taking hold of the working world. However, there is still much work needed. Executing a recruitment process able to identify EI in candidates is still required.

EI or emotional quotient (EQ), the increasingly sought-after attribute, is actually a number of traits including self-awareness, empathy, motivation, self-regulation and interpersonal skills. The opposite of IQ, hard skills or technical capabilities, EI essentially refers to the capacity to understand and manage one’s own emotions. But then again, what does this mean for the workplace?

High EI can improve leadership and performance. Emotionally intelligent individuals control their emotions better in the workplace, overcome stress in pressured moments and possess a unique awareness of how their words and actions will affect those around them.

At the other end of the spectrum, business leaders with strong EI are more prone to understanding their employees’ emotions, and therefore, communicate in a manner which builds trust and an inclusive setting resulting in increased motivation.

And so, there is no wonder why we have seen a rise in the demand of executive development courses such as “Leading with Emotional Intelligence” (Emory) and “Emotional Intelligence – Engaged Leadership” (Auckland).

Across the corporate world, whether leadership or employee, these traits are increasingly desired throughout the business structure. In fact, in new research by Robert Half U.K., 60% of respondents from 400 interviews with managers across the UK said that EQ was an important trait for their employees to have[2].

Still, while many employers understand EI’s significance, not enough are employing the necessary means to examine the correct qualities associated with a high EQ. In the same Robert Half U.K. study, one in four businesses undervalue EQ in their hiring processes and this is having more of an adverse effect on business performance than many may think.

In the insurance industry, for example, brokers with high EI become tuned in with their client’s emotional ‘ups and downs’, reacting accordingly and supplying a truly bespoke service which meets their demands. Despite being an old study, The Business Case for Emotional Intelligence found brokers with emotional intelligence such as self-confidence, initiative and empathy averaged higher premiums than those without.

Distinguishing emotional competencies is a difficult task at best, especially hard within the interviewing process. Most high IQ individuals will be able to prepare emotionally intelligent and empathetic answers for interviews.

However, at Eames Partnership, our expertise is combined with leading training to guarantee we can distinguish the individuals with truly high EQ. Additionally, adding another layer to effective identification, our psychometric testing incorporates questions which classify both IQ and EQ attributes.

Top executives across all industries are not only feeling the pressure to work on their own EI, but to progressively employ more emotionally intelligent individuals. Leading insurance executives who are willing to move faster and further than the pack by appreciating the new workspace landscape and the individual characteristics needed to navigate it can take the necessary precautions to the hiring process. Identifying the individuals with the right balance between both emotional and intellectual intelligence will result in your company profiting first.

For more information on the matter or to find out about our services please contact Matthew Eames, Managing Partner; matthew.eames@eamespartnership.com.



[1] World Economic Forum, Future of Jobs, 2018

[2] Robert Half, Emotional intelligence undervalued by one in four firms, 2018