Understanding Emotional Intelligence During the Hiring Process

From the finance industry to the hospitality sector, the importance of  “soft skills” has grown among all workers. Traditionally, the focus of the hiring process was placed on intelligence, experience, and education, but in today’s marketplace, an employee’s book smarts are no longer enough for success. According to the Harvard Business Review, employers should consider weighing emotional intelligence just as heavily as they review experience and education. For CFOs, considering a potential employee’s emotional quotient (EQ) could make a major difference in assembling a finance team.

Why Emotional Intelligence is Important Today

Of course, hiring an employee can be a hit-or-miss affair, but measuring emotional intelligence during the interview process strengthens the final decision. According to Adele B. Lynn, who authored The EQ Interview: Finding Employees with High Emotional Intelligence, a person’s EQ accounts for 24-69% of their performance in the workplace.

Study after study has shown that there’s a high correlation between emotional intelligence and jobs that require high levels of human-to-human interaction, such as a management position, sales, customer service, and much more. In fact, companies such as L’Oreal have tried to measure EQ as part of their hiring quotient.

While CFOs don’t have to get extremely scientific when it comes to measuring EQ during the hiring process, it’s important to determine assessments to measure emotional intelligence. Whether it’s through hypothetical questions or simply by maintaining a casual conversation before complex questions, there are many ways CFOs can gauge a potential employee’s emotional intelligence.

So why exactly does emotional quotient matter and how does it make a difference in the work place?

  • Higher EQs correspond with increased self-awareness and self-discipline. This means that an employee will be able to understand his or her role in the organization, manage time efficiently, and be considerate of coworkers and customers alike.
  • Employees with higher EQs can read behavior better. People who hold positions with lots of human-to-human interaction must be able to gauge what the other person is feeling and how their actions impact behavior.
  • Emotional intelligence encourages growth. People with high EQs are more likely to learn from their mistakes, as they are willing to reflect and grow, thereby resulting in a stronger employee.
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