Newsflash from SRS –
There is, in fact, a kind of smart which can pay off in the job market, and it has nothing to do with IQ (a measure of a person’s ability to learn which – stays the same throughout life). That kind of smart is called Emotional Intelligence (a flexible skill set which can be improved with practice). The whole of a person is made up of Intelligence Quotient, Emotional Intelligence and personality. Which of these is the strongest predictor of performance in the work world? Emotional Intelligence or E I, many psychologists say, is responsible for 58% of success. It is seen as the strongest driver of leadership and personal excellence. In fact, a high degree of E I is reported to be responsible for a person earning an average of $29,000/year more than those with a low E I. This is true of all industries, at all levels, and in all parts of the country.
Emotional intelligence is an intangible that affects how we manage behavior, navigate social complexities, and make personal decisions in such a way as to achieve positive results. It falls into two primary competencies personal and social. Skills within the personal category are self-awareness and self-management. Is a person able to perceive his/her emotions and keep an awareness of them? Can this awareness be used to keep a person flexible and positive?
Within the Social Competency are the skills of social awareness and relationship management. Is the person able to understand other people’s moods, and behaviors and in doing so improve the quality of relationships? Can he/she manage interactions with coworkers?
This is no news to recruiters and HR professionals!
The interview process is designed to meet the person behind the resume’. In other words, it gives the interviewer an opportunity to separate the achievements on the resume which are largely a product of IQ from Emotional I Q which is difficult to quantify and list. For example, a candidate can have terrific accounting skills and great grades but yet be arrogant, have trouble working with others and be a person who blames others when things go wrong. When competing for the same job a more desirable candidate might have slightly lower grades and a more narrow skill set, yet he/she is polite, works well with others, stays focused and has leadership potential. She/he has the ability to manage emotions, relates well to others, adapts to the work environment, takes criticism and is eager to learn. Who will get the job? Who would you want to work with? It is much harder to train someone to manage his emotions than it is to strengthen his skills and train him for a particular job. Compared to IQ and expertise, emotional intelligence matters twice as much as IQ according to psychologist Daniel Goleman.
Given the huge pool of talent that most companies have to choose from in this competitive job market, doesn’t it make sense that employers will spend time in attempting to hire employees that are emotionally fit?
Job postings increasingly use terms such as mature and resilient as employers are more discerning in what they are looking for beyond skills and accomplishments on the resume’. The online shoe retailer Zappos.com weeds out candidates who don’t have their emotions in check. Christa Foley, senior HR manager at Zappos says “We ask a lot of questions to make sure they’re humble.” Arrogance has no place when talking to potential customers so an often asked question is, “Can you tell me a common perception people have of you?” Answers like, “I always have an opinion on something,” can be a red flag that a person can be arrogant.
Given a choice most employers would prefer to hire someone with limited technical skills (which can be improved) and a high emotional intelligence.
Before an interview, consider possible emotional intelligence interview questions – those that attempt to get information about your personal and social skills, i.e. self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management. Remember the interviewer is attempting to see the real you – particularly your E I apart from the resume’.
Consider your answer to the following questions:
- Tell me about a time when you felt confident in your abilities. What was the situation? Why did you feel confident? How did you know? What was the result?
- Think of a situation you faced where you felt angry or frustrated at work (whether you showed it or not). How did you know that you were feeling this way? Why were you frustrated? What did you say or do? What was the impact you had on the other people who were involved?
- Everyone is better at some things than others. What is an example of something that isn’t one of your strengths? What have you done in your professional life to accommodate for this?
- How would your current or previous co-workers, supervisor and staff describe your communication and interpersonal style? Give me an example or two.
- Describe a difficult conversation you faced at work. What was it? What did you do? What was the result?
SPEND SOME TIME REALLY THINKING ABOUT ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS LIKE THESE. PRACTICE A RESPONSE THAT SHOWS YOU HAVE STRONG EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE. ENGAGE SOMEONE TO LISTEN TO THE QUESTION AND YOUR RESPONSE – YOUR RECRUITER IS AN EXCELLENT SOURCE/SOUNDING BOARD FOR YOUR POSSIBLE ANSWERS TO THESE AND SIMILAR QUESTIONS – USE THEM.
Remember in the interview to thoughtfully answer all questions. You are not being timed. Thinking through a question and asking for clarification if necessary demonstrates important characteristics of those with a high E I, which are self-awareness and the ability to manage behavior and social interaction.
“Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don’t recognize them.”
Good luck and remember that luck comes in abundance to those that prepare!
“The harder I work, the luckier I get.” Samuel Goldwyn