Assessing EI as part of the recruitment process

Emotional Intelligence in recruitment

From having been not listed at all, The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report now believes that Emotional Intelligence (EI) will be the second most sought-after skill by employers by 2020. Likewise, a career builder survey found that 71% of employers value EI over IQ during this 4th Industrial Revolution.

“To gain success, an individual will need to have high levels of EI”     Jack Ma, Chinese business magnate

In today’s world of work, a large number of business leaders seem to be familiar with the concept of EI and if asked, many will say that it is a crucial skill-set to develop to become a successful leader. This suggestion is supported by a piece of research conducted by Stanford University, across fortune 500 companies, which showed that 90% of those who failed as leaders, did so because of their lower levels of EI.

Further, an international professional services firm who assessed their Partner’s EI competencies discovered that those who scored above the median on 9 or more of the 20 skills, delivered $1.2 million more profit from their accounts than their other partners - a 139 % incremental gain.

The above examples provide robust evidence of the importance of developing EI competencies for workplace performance. But why then, do more organisations, particularly within the sports industry, not assess candidates EI during the recruitment process? Surely this would enable them to select the candidates with the right skills for specific roles, not to mention save them large sums of money in training costs down the line?

Organisations Should Assess EI in The Recruitment Process

Emotional intelligence essentially involves two parts: first, becoming aware of how emotions in ourselves and others drive behaviours and second, developing the skills to manage these emotions intelligently, to leverage our personal strengths. While clearly there is value in having high levels of emotional intelligence, how does adding a rigourous assessment tool into the recruitment process specifically help those in the sports industry?

EI assessments give recruiters an accurate and tangible look at where candidates currently stand across the key skills.

EI assessments that are scientifically valid allow recruiters to establish the aspects of emotional intelligence that potential employees are strong in, as well as the areas where they might need to focus their development efforts. To put it simply, EI assessment takes the guess work out of selecting candidates based on their levels of social and emotional competence.

If you are working in a pressurised and competitive environment like the sports industry, it makes perfect sense that you would want employees and leaders who are adaptable, resilient, confident and have the capacity to collaborate effectively with others. This is where EI assessments stand out from the rest. While finely tuned social and emotional competencies are highly desirable due to their relationship with workplace success, EI assessments give recruiters an accurate and tangible look at where candidates currently stand across the key skills.

Incorporating EI Assessments Into the Recruitment Process

Some of the benefits associated with EI assessments have now been described, but the question still remains – how can HR professionals seamlessly implement them into the recruitment process?

The first step when choosing the appropriate tool is to only consider scientifically accurate assessments developed specifically for identifying talent, and recruiting high-performing employees. Once the most appropriate tool has been selected, it should then become a simple process to ask applicants to complete the assessment and conduct the follow-up interview.

The most effective EI tools not only give you a break down of a candidate’s scores across the different competencies of emotional intelligence, but will also provide a detailed description of what the competencies mean and how they relate to workplace performance.

Once the applicant has taken the assessment, the next step is to conduct a behavioural interview, where you can explore the interpretations of their EI results. During the interview, the interaction of high and low scores will be discussed in the context of how that would potentially impact job performance.

As we move further into the digital age, the demand for emotionally intelligent employees will continue to increase.

By the end of this process, the individuals involved in conducting the EI assessment will have a clearer picture of the applicant’s emotional strengths and development areas, and therefore will be in a position to make a more informed decision on whether the candidate is the right fit, or not.

At RocheMartin we have developed an assessment specifically for this process. The Emotional Capital Report Selection, or ECR Selection is a tool that will assess candidates across 10 social and emotional skills that are highly related to performance and leadership effectiveness within the workplace. The report will give you interpretations of the social and emotional skills, as well as follow up questions that can be used during the behavioural interview.

Measuring success

In order to measure the success of incorporating EI assessments into the recruitment process, a multi-rater assessment could be used once the new employee has been in their role for at least 3 months. However, it is advised that this type of assessment is only deployed if there has been some form of training put in place to enhance the individual’s EI skills.

If, after a 3-month period, the individual has been building on their strengths and proactively working on their development areas, they should then be asked to take the multi-rater assessment, also known as a 360. The 360 requires the employee to take a self-assessment, and then invite colleagues to rate them on the same test. This provides a richer insight into their emotional behaviours, and allows those administering the assessment to gain a deeper understanding in relation to how others perceive the employee in the workplace.

If the training and development has been effective, the 360 should show signs of improvement and the individual will be consistently demonstrating emotional behaviours that are conducive to high performance and collaboration.

At RocheMartin we have also developed a 360 assessment that we deploy within fortune 500’s globally. The ECR 360 is a robust assessment tool that compares self scores and the responses from chosen raters on 10 social and emotional skills that are highly predictive of effective leadership performance. It also provides practical coaching strategies, which have been proven to help high performing professionals enhance their EI skills across a range of settings.

Wrapping - Up

As we move further into the digital age, the demand for emotionally intelligent employees will continue to increase, and the need to incorporate accurate and reliable EI assessments into the recruitment process will become more and more apparent. Those HR professionals who take this need seriously will most likely recruit higher performing employees and leaders, which in turn, should result in workplaces that are conducive to productivity and sustained levels of performance. Those who don’t, might well have missed a big opportunity.

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