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In today’s rapidly changing workplace, emotional intelligence (EQ) is the trait to look for. Emotionally intelligent people–those who can understand and manage their own and other people’s emotions–add tremendous value to an organisation. 

When determining who will be a top performer, EQ carries twice as much weight as IQ and technical skills combined. Companies that have more emotionally intelligent employees also have more engaged and satisfied employees, according to a study in Industrial and Commercial Training. 

This makes it incredibly important to focus on EQ while hiring. But how exactly do you do that?

What to look for when hiring for Emotional Intelligence?

?    Self-Awareness: Self-aware people are confident in who they are. They understand their own strengths, weaknesses and motivations, and how others see them. 
?    Self-Management: Self-management includes managing your emotions, taking initiative, adapting to change, maintaining a positive attitude and striving to exceed expectations.
?    Social Awareness: Social awareness includes empathy and awareness of others’ feelings and needs.
?    Relationship Management: This includes managing change and disagreements. High-EQ leaders manage relationships well by guiding, inspiring, influencing and developing their people. 

7 Tips to Hire for Emotional Intelligence

1. Learn to interpret body language

Read up on the physical tells that reveal discomfort or passion to better understand whether candidates are suited for the role.

2. Look for evidence of high and low EQ in candidates

Note down any signs of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, or relationship management skills. These can be as small as a candidate repeating a question back to confirm they’ve understood it.

3. Assess outside the interview

Watch how candidates behave before, during and after their interview and how they treat your employees.

4. Ask probing questions

To reveal more of a candidate’s unrehearsed personality, push them to go beyond set answers by asking questions about their responses to your questions.

5. Talk to references

Actually talk to the references your candidate provides. Give them a call, put them on the spot, and ask specific questions about how the candidate demonstrated the four EQ competencies. Get lots of examples and detail about how they treat others.

6. Interview for emotional intelligence

Ask candidates directly about EQ-related competencies, and again, follow up their answers with probing questions to get specific examples and details. 

7. Use a proper feedback mechanism

Your candidate will have contact with several of your current employees during the hiring process. Ask each of them for feedback. This will not only help you assess the candidate, but also show your people that you value their opinions.

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