Emotional Intelligence is the future.

A regular feature of my blog centres around hiring for experience and firing for attitude.  I have also reflected on the lack of planning that goes in to hiring, how often recruitment is a knee jerk reaction to circumstances (usually the result of a “can I have a word meeting”) and therefore lets just go out and get someone.  Hiring is often very hit and miss with too much left to chance.  Some you get right, some you don’t.  The cost to business is huge.

So what can you do to improve your chances of getting it right?  How can you apply a little more science to what is an instinctive, intuitive, gut feel decision?  I have always maintained with clients and indeed with my own hiring decisions that you should trust your instincts.  However process and procedure dictates that we must be ever more considered in our choices and feedback.

Psychometrics is defined by Wikipedia, as “the field of study concerned with the theory and technique of educational and psychological measurement, which includes the measurement of knowledge, abilities, attitudes and personality traits”.  Online research suggests that approximately 70% of Employers are using Psychometric Tests in their recruitment process and undeniably they have a place.  I have long-held the view that what psychometrics give you are the questions to ask, not the answers.  If they are the only tool by which you make your hiring decision they can be flawed.  If however they are the basis for really searching interview questions they can be invaluable and as such a great tool to improve the effectiveness of the hiring process and as a consequence impact on retention and performance.

Increasingly pressure is placed on Recruiting Managers to evidence their ability to identify top talent, in particular in the Executive and leadership space.  The cost of hire is high, the cost of failure is even higher.  There is much research in this regard, but on average the true cost of replacing a Professional or Manager in an organization is equivalent to 12 months pay and benefits.  Take in to account the cost of termination, the recruitment cost of the replacement, the cost of the vacancy (in terms of loss of revenue or the cost of covering the post whilst it remains empty) and perhaps the most costly of all the learning curve productivity loss.  Psychometrics do not guarantee success in the recruitment process, but then can be an invaluable tool and should be used as part of a wholly rigorous recruitment process (more about that another day).

Increasingly as businesses becomes ever more global and crosses cultures I am struck by the part the Emotional Intelligence plays as a Recruitment Tool.  The consultants Haygroup describe emotional intelligence as “the ability to bring out the best in ourselves and others” and as “a crucial part of a leaders repertoire”.  The following is a quote from EI Pioneer Richard Boyatzis in 2008 –

“We find that most of the characteristics that differentiate the outstanding performers are these things that we call social and emotional competencies”.

Emotional Intelligence can be the difference between average and exceptional performance.  As Recruiters are placed under ever-increasing pressure to add value, the ability to identify and recruit exceptional talent and retain that talent to deliver exceptional performance will be critical.  The ability to measure and understand emotional intelligence gives a significant edge in ensuring best fit and there are some incredible tools in the market place.  My sense is that the future of profiling will become ever more focused on the measurement and understanding of emotional intelligence and I for one am a huge advocate.  It is the future of recruitment.



Filed under Recruitment, Talent

2 responses to “Emotional Intelligence is the future.

  1. EI distinguishes the best leaders from the rest. The primary qualities of someone with advanced EI are: awareness of their own areas for improvement; ability to regulate their own moods under stress; being motivated by continuous improvement; considering people’s feelings; being accessible; and establishing rapport. But how do you ascertain these qualities at interview without giving the answers away? A closer look at the EI body of research shows three more subtle lines of enquiry:

    1. A person’s extra-curricular habits in their youth are a far greater indicator of later success than their academic scores, especially if the person’s role involved getting people together in a shared endeavour. So what did they do in their teens / early twenties that fits this profile?
    2. The extent to which a manager or leader asks for feedback from people accurately predicts not just their ability to respond to the feedback, but their overall effectiveness too. So how thoroughly do they seek feedback?
    3. The most reliable indicator of a leader’s effectiveness is not the esteem that their superiors ( the CEO or, for CEOs, the non-execs) have of them, nor even of their peer group, but of their subordinates. So is there objective evidence of their subordinates’ ratings of the leader?

    Martin Edwards
    CEO Julia’s House
    Dorset Children’s Hospice
    (ranked in national top-20 of Sunday Times Best Companies)

    • HI Martin Thanks for your comments, I really appreciate the feedback. I am working with some incredibly talented people at the moment around the whole issue of EI as it is a subject that fascinates me both personally and professionally. They have looked at a number of initiatives and applications in the workplace that their clients have found to be hugely valuable, specifically in getting the best from their people. I know that you do a tremendous job with your time as evidenced in you Best Companies award. However if ever you wanted to explore EI and its application in the workplace (if you are not already) just let me know. I would happily refer them on.

      Thanks again.

      Best wishes

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