Who are you really hiring? Emotional intelligence vs. skills
Date: 25th October 2018
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When you’re hiring, what is top of your wish list? Do you look for candidates that have the skills and experience required, or do you look for candidates who have the emotional intelligence to take on a challenge, learn and grow with your organisation?

As a recruitment manager, you know how much time and money goes into hiring. It’s an expensive process to get wrong! Worryingly, new statistics released by Leadership IQ have found that 46% of newly-hired employees will fail within 18 months. That’s almost a 50:50 chance of your new recruit walking out of the door. So where are we going wrong?

As a recruitment and retention coach, I get to see first hand the recruitment processes of many organisations. And I get to work with both employers and employees, during the hiring process, during on boarding and during departure. So often I find that the candidate just wasn’t suited to the role!

The CEO of Leadership IQ, Mark Murphy, explains: “The typical job interview process fixates on ensuring that new hires are technically competent. But coachability, emotional intelligence, motivation and temperament are much more predictive of a new hires success or failure. Do technical skills really matter if the employee isn’t open to improving, alienates their co-workers, lacks emotional intelligence and has the wrong personality for the job?”EI versus skills table

The research conducted by Leadership IQ found that the top reasons for a failed hire included a lack of coachability, lack of emotional intelligence, lack of motivation and the wrong temperament. Only 11% of respondents in the study cited technical competence (or a lack thereof) as the reason for an employee leaving.

The most successful recruitment managers look for something beyond a tick list or skills or knowledge. I often work with decision makers to develop their ability to see beyond a candidate’s facade, and to understand what their underlying motivations and drivers are. The LAB Profile plays a key part in this. Learning how to spot a candidate’s temperament, decision making under stress especially and motivational triggers are essential to making a successful hire.

Once you’ve hired that candidate, how can you keep them engaged and motivated?
Some effective ways are to:

  • Encourage them to learn
  • Give them opportunities to grow and develop, to expand their role
  • Create a learning culture in your workplace (read more on this here) so that your people keep coming back to work excited at the opportunities ahead of them.

This comes back to a growth mindset. When you’re hiring, look for people who are open to learning, and can accept and embrace feedback (and therefore have a growth mindset, rather than a fixed one). Candidates with a growth mindset are more likely to:

  • Learn from others, whether that’s experts or colleagues
  • Welcome feedback and use it to improve and grow
  • Believe in themselves
  • Seek continual improvement
  • Be resilient when faced with setbacks or challenges.

Going back to the chart from Leadership IQ’s research, a candidate with the ability to do these things is far more likely to succeed and stay put in a role!

How can you identify whether a candidate has the emotional intelligence needed to take on their role?

For many recruiting managers, being able to spot this potential and assess a candidate’s emotional intelligence is a challenging task. Are you confident in your ability to understand and predict what a candidate is capable of (both good and bad) and their potential?

I specialise in helping recruiting managers to understand the triggers that drive candidates, by listening to their language and asking probing questions that will reveal who they really are. Don’t put up with bad hires or a 50% success rate. Get in touch if you would like to truly unlock the power of language when recruiting and selecting key hires.