The Future of Jobs Report from The World Economic Forum reported that by the year 2020, “overall, social skills—such as persuasion, emotional intelligence and teaching others—will be in higher demand across industries than narrow technical skills”. Emotional intelligence; commonly referred to as EI or EQ, can be difficult to assess during the recruitment process. It is good practice to be able to recognise some of the indicators of the five EI competencies and incorporate them into your competency based questions.
Long gone are the days when candidates could answer questions about their development with a weakness turned into a strength…“my biggest problem is I’m too helpful to others”. What we really want to find out is how aware someone is about their own strengths and what they need to improve? If they can’t easily and confidently talk about this, there’s a good chance they are just not self-aware enough. A good answer should include how they became aware of the need to develop, the steps taken, what progress they’ve made and how they know this.
Ask the candidate to demonstrate how have effectively dealt with conflict, unexpected change or setbacks. Indicators of high self-regulation are resilience, flexibility in response to change, taking responsibility for their own performance and self-control i.e. keeping disruptive or negative emotions in check.
This competency is not about what motivates somebody to get up and go to work in the morning. What you are looking for here is somebody’s persistence, initiative and drive. Do they operate from hope of success or fear of failure? Have they demonstrated focus on results, being prepared to take calculated risks along the way? Other indicators would be not allowing criticism to de-motivate them and pursuing goals beyond expectations.
This is a broad area. The competency is about somebody’s understanding of others, their customers and the organisation; not how caring they are towards others. Behaviours to look out for would be demonstrating sensitivity and understanding of others’ feelings and anticipating customer need. Can they demonstrate knowledge of the wider industry, market and economic trends? An empathic individual will take an active interest in others’ concerns and demonstrate sensitivity and understanding. They will be able to match services or products to specific customer needs. A candidate with high EI will ask insightful questions about the culture of your organisation.
5. Social Skills
Some skills and attributes that you might look for here are communication skills, conflict management, leadership and developing others, teamwork and collaboration and facilitating change. One easy way to validate communication skills at interview is checking whether somebody is actively listening. Do they repeat questions back to you in their own words to check understanding? Are their answers thoughtful and specifically answer what you have asked or are they choosing from a selection of well-rehearsed examples? Other indicators might be anticipating others’ reaction to change and showing an interest in helping people through change. Do their responses to questions evidence a willingness to work with others; such as involving others in decision making and treating people with trust and openness? Can you be confident that they are more focused on cooperation than competition? Being able to build rapport with you, the interviewer is a good indicator of their level of ease and confidence when meeting new people.
This is not an exhaustive list of the behaviours that you would expect to see in somebody with high emotional intelligence; however being able to spot some of these indicators is certainly a good place to start.