We all are aware of the effects Intelligence Quotient (IQ) has on the workplace’s cognitive capabilities But how many of us check the emotional quotient while building a team or recruiting a candidate? Only handful of companies test candidates’ emotional intelligence before recruiting them into the organization.

Why Emotional Intelligence is Important in Recruiting?

Initially coined in a book by Daniel Goleman in 1995, emotional intelligence comprises five attributes: self-regulation, motivation, self-awareness, social skills, and empathy. These traits are important when it comes to assessing an employee’s performance, especially during current times.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) back in 2016, predicted that emotional intelligence would be the sixth most demanded skill by 2020. The predictions stay relevant in 2020, as emotional intelligence has rapidly escalated the skills charts for both job seekers and employers. Moreover, due to the pandemic, Emotional Intelligence (EI) is now among the top five must-have skills. 

However, recruiting an emotionally intelligent candidate is tricky. Candidates tend to show extremely positive behavior for the first few months, which wears once they settle down. It is essential to seek those candidates whose quality and values are similar to your organization.

Here are four tips that will help you kickstart the process of hiring emotionally intelligent candidates:

1. Adopt Behavioural Interview Techniques

The recruitment process can be uncertain at times. The sole motive of the interviewer is to select someone who matches the requirement of the job. But sometimes, even a highly qualified candidate may leave behind unsatisfied clients and frustrated colleagues. Viable hiring decisions should also factor in behavioral interviews to know the candidates’ emotional intelligence level. For example, you can create hypothetical situations for the candidate. Observe their reactions and the roles they play in different situations.

You can also use a technique called Behavioural Event Interviewing wherein you ask the candidates to describe a personal experience or a situation from their previous job. The past performance is assumed to predict future performance while evaluating their emotional responses.

This small exercise incorporated in your regular interview pattern will help you understand the candidate’s emotional intelligence efficiently.

2. Leverage AI Hiring Tools

Hiring is a domain that can be adversely affected by the pandemic. For this very reason, HR professionals need to find out a solution to speed up the recruitment process. By leveraging artificial intelligence in their recruitment strategy, HR professionals can significantly reduce their burden by automating hiring tasks. Moreover, due to the pandemic, it is not safe for recruiters and candidates to conduct a face-to-face interview session.

This is where companies can leverage AI hiring tools. AI tools can study pitch tonality, gestures, and body language patterns from live or pre-recorded video interviews to give you a picture of candidates’ EQ makeup and personality. Some resume AI parsing tools can also help recruiters screen candidates by extracting the data from resumes and putting it in its pre-designed fields.

The AI utilizes object recognition to recognize critical indicators such as changes in postures and facial expressions, attaching these indicators to a specific emotional profile.

3.  Use Role-play and VR Simulations 

Online or face to face interviews are not the only options recruiters have to indicate the potential emotional intelligence a candidate could bring to the workplace. That’s where virtual reality (VR)  and role-play simulations come in.

In a role-play model exercise, you can simulate candidates’ reactions to various workplace triggers by putting them in an employee’s shoes. While role-playing, you can observe candidate response when getting negative criticism from the manager or stage as employees in conflict.

VR works on similar premises as role-playing, but it is more immersive and interactive. Any desired situation can be played out in front of the candidate’s eyes in an interactive environment. The reactions and emotional outputs will be much more accurate. Testing EQ with VR was piloted by Walmart recently. They used Oculus Go VR headsets to test store managers for leadership decision-making soft skills to evaluate their emotional tendencies before deploying them in a new retail location.

4. Use Referral Benefits Program

A referral program is always an excellent add-on to any hiring strategy. These referral programs come with their perks, especially when it comes to emotional intelligence. HR professionals can deploy an HR portal wherein any employee can refer to their colleague or friend from previous companies.

Your current employees are already familiar with the ethics and the values of your organization. Therefore, they can recommend those who are aligned with the same vision. As a gesture of appreciation, you can incentivize the program.

Leveraging referral programs on a larger scale will help the organization develop a robust talent pool with high EQ.


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