emotional intelligence in employees illustratio

When 90% of the factors that set high performing employees apart are considered emotional intelligence skills, it seems like a no-brainer to hire with employee mindset and EQ skills as one of your deciding factors. Being intentional about including this criterion can be difficult, and recognizing those attributes in candidates can be even harder.

Today we’ll talk through a few tips for prioritizing emotional intelligence skills in your hiring and identifying those skills in your candidate pool.

Make hiring for emotional intelligence a company priority

The first step to incorporating emotional intelligence into your hiring criteria is to decide to go all-in. Make sure your team is aligned with this initiative. If everyone is aligned around the common hiring focus, you’re more likely to end up with candidates who have the mindset you’re looking for.

This may require a formal announcement or training session to bring everyone up to speed on new practices.

Decide on a set of questions to uncover candidate mindsets

Now that you’ve made hiring for emotional intelligence a priority, you’ll want to decide on a set of questions to ask candidates that help uncover their level of EQ. Unfortunately, this can’t be done reliably with an emotional intelligence quiz or online assessment. Candidates are too likely to cater answers to what they think employers want to hear vs. how they would actually respond in situations.

The best way to assess someone’s emotional intelligence is through human conversation and by asking thoughtful questions. Here are a few interview questions you can test out with your next candidate:

  • Tell us about a time you received hard feedback. How did you react?
  • Can you tell us how you react when you make a mistake or miss a goal?
  • Tell us about a time when you had a conflict with a team member or boss. How did you address it? How did it make you feel?
  • Imagine you have to give hard feedback to a peer. How would you tackle doing that?

If you receive an answer that’s vague don’t be shy about asking probing follow-up questions. Ask what actions they took, how the other party responded, or how they felt when making changes or taking action.

Notice the signs of emotional intelligence in interview responses

Candidates who have high EQ will not shy away from the above questions. If they do, it may be a sign that they avoid conflict or difficult conversations.

Job candidates who have high emotional intelligence will not only answer your questions thoughtfully, but you’ll also hear them speak to the fact that they thought about their own feelings, the other person’s point of view and feelings, and/or their thought process for understanding the situation fully and being empathetic to all sides.

Hiring employees who have strong emotional intelligence can result in a high performing team that communicates well and handles their emotions and others’ with care. If your existing team is lacking in the emotional intelligence department, have them check out some of Verb’s tips for improving emotional intelligence.

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