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Discovering the emotional intelligence of a candidate


Undoubtedly one of the most important aspects of a recruitment interview to bear in mind is the candidate’s personality to see if he or she is compatible with the overall work environment/ culture at the company, as well as in the specific department.

In fact the information on the candidate’s educational background and professional experience you can see beforehand on the CV. Apart from checking it for veracity and to clarify any doubts, we must dig in deeper into the personal profile to try and find out what we call “emotional intelligence”—which, from my point of view, is even more important than what we usually call intelligence quotient (IQ).

Emotional intelligence (EI) was popularized in 1995 by Daniel Goleman in his book, “Emotional Intelligence: Why it Can Matter More Than IQ” which refers to the way the human being manages emotions and is capable of interacting with others. Not everyone is capable of recognizing and evaluating emotional reality properly. In fact, an emotion experienced may not correspond to the reality of a situation and cause serious repercussions, as it’s no easy matter to always understand emotions.

In 2000, Goleman took his research to the working world and carried out a study across more than 500 companies, concluding that between 75% and 90% of the results obtained for an employee depended on their EI rather than on their IQ and experience. This was particularly noticeable in positions of leadership. If the truth be told, it’s not much good if a candidate has an exceptional academic record but no emotional intelligence. Thanks to EI we can better understand others, rise to high-pressure by tolerating frustration better, be more empathetic and work better in a team. At the end of the day, it lets us have a better chance of professional development as we are “social” beings and not isolated in a bubble.

I sincerely believe that the higher the EI is, the greater is the candidate’s potential for facing the world and different situations arising daily in the working environment. A candidate with good EI will: be more proactive, anticipate needs, make better decisions, be more autonomous, work better in a group, have better communication and a greater commitment to the company in general.

We all know that the recruitment interview is limited in time; all the more reason we need to “discover/predict” the candidate’s personality based on his or her behavior during the interview itself. So we need to pay extra attention to the candidate’s ability to talk and non-verbal communication (posture, gestures, dress code…) by giving them the freedom to communicate in quite a relaxed environment. This way we can get to know the “real person” sitting in front of us. Candidates with the required profile who experience positive emotions—like optimism, good humor, resilience or empathy among other qualities are the ideal ones to hire and convince us of having the right potential any company wants for their employees. 

Editorial HR

Meta4, with 1,300 customers in 100 countries, manages more than 18 million people worldwide. The company’s R&D&I center located in Spain (Madrid) develops HR applications capable of meeting local and global needs of all types of organizations. The editorial team is made up of professionals with over 15 years of experience in the HR technology field.

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