Emotional Intelligence is More Important Than You Think

Getting that dream job with a company used to be all about having the right experience and academic qualifications, but these days, the evaluation process has changed.

A job candidate that might look great on paper, may not even be offered an interview if they have not demonstrated having that buzz phrase of the recruitment world: emotional intelligence. It seems that this is what companies today are looking for. They want proof that applicants will become great team members.

Blue-chip companies such as Google and the BBC, were among the first to give up using traditional hiring methods and rely on evaluating a candidate’s emotional intelligence, instead of where they went to school, or what grades they received.

And it’s not just big corporations that have made this change in recruitment policy. Huge numbers of smaller companies and NGOs have, too. They all want the best possible candidate to fit into their teams.

There has recently been a lot of criticism of the UK’s health care services, regarding a lack of compassion. So much so, that many care organisations now prioritise looking for signs of emotional intelligence as part of their selection process for all care staff.

But how did such that an innocuous buzz phrase become the go-to recruitment pre-requisite?

The reason is simple. Emotional intelligence, a term first brought to the masses in 1995 by science journalist, Daniel Goleman, involves self-awareness, empathy, motivation and social skills. When someone has these qualities, employers know they will work well with others.

Someone who is emotionally smart will learn from their mistakes, instead of blaming them on events out of their control. Emotionally intelligent people are usually problem solvers, not problem dwellers, because they can empathise different points of view and see ways around a dilemma. They are often skilled at managing their emotions, especially when under pressure, because keeping calm when stress levels rise is an extremely desirable skill.

Lastly, being both intelligent and emotional, can mean knowing when to, and when not to, take a step back if things get a bit disruptive. Those without the emotional intelligence, may blow up and become confrontational.

By understanding the true value of an emotionally intelligent employee, you’ll begin to see the connection between the types of people hired and the success that comes from it.

But if you are still unsure exactly what emotional intelligence actually is, there are numerous ways to demonstrate it:

  • Emotional intelligence begins with what is called self-and social awareness, the ability to recognize emotions, and their impact on yourself and others.
  • Think what your emotional strengths and weaknesses are and how your present mood can affect your decision making. Pondering these can offer valuable insights that can be used to your advantage.
  • Emotional intelligence is not blurting out the first think that comes to mind when confronted with a situation. This can stop you from making a permanent decision based on a temporary emotion.
  • If you receive negative feedback, gracefully accepting shows emotional strength simply by keeping your emotions in check and asking: How can this make me better?
  • Empathy doesn’t necessarily mean agreeing with others. Rather, it’s about striving to understand their viewpoint.
  • Emotional intelligence helps you realize that apologizing doesn’t necessarily mean you’re wrong. It does mean valuing your relationship more than your ego.

Jerry Short