You’re Screening Job Candidates Wrong
3 strategies that will change the way you screen
One day employees seem to be on the top of the world, firing on all cylinders. The next day their lives and careers implode. Why does this happen?
Why does this happen?
A lack of emotional intelligence may provide the answer.Despite extensive research to the contrary, “soft skills” are often ignored when an individual possesses extraordinary athletic skills or keen business acumen. Ironically, the more skilled and prominent the role, the more emotional intelligence matters. Emotional intelligence is like soft skills on steroids. It has the power to both open and close the doors of opportunity from the production floor to the executive suite.
What’s does emotional intelligence look like?
You might “know it when you see it.” But you'll definitely recognize when it's missing. For example, have you ever interacted with any of these people?
Each of these examples represents individuals who were recognized by others as a good fit and rewarded a promising opportunity or job. They were either “hard-wired” for success or climbed a career ladder through more traditional means of education and experience. Everything seemed to be going right … until one or more of their wheels start to come off.
The reasons for failure weren’t a lack of ability or potential but the inability to remain calm and cool under pressure, the failure to demonstrate reliability, organization, and responsiveness, the inability to manage people relationships effectively, and/or a lack of caring about the feelings and conditions of others.
Domains of emotional intelligence
Based on the huge ROI of high emotional intelligence and the catastrophic impact of the lack of it, assessing emotional intelligence should be an integral part in the selection of every leader and in the promotion of key people. Thanks to the pioneering work of Dr. Daniel Goleman and others, it is now possible to measure Emotional Quotient (EQ), a reliable measure of emotional intelligence. Let me describe three smart strategies to screen job candidates for emotional intelligence.
3 Strategies to screen job candidates
Pay attention to “how” not “what.”
Too often managers are enamored by what an individual has accomplished, not how he achieved success. For sure, accomplishments matter but the real focus during the interview should be on whether the individual can repeat them. Was he just in the right time at the right place or was he surrounded by an exceptional team? What happens when he assumes a new role with new responsibilities under more competitive and complex conditions? He may have the education and experience but does he have the maturity, confidence, and emotional intelligence to deal with the pressure and engage the people.
Job fit shouldn’t be the final test.
To measure job fit, organizations often use pre-employment testing. Whether it’s hiring “round pegs for round holes” or “putting the right people in the right seats,” companies are becoming more diligent when it comes to employee selection. When an individual isn’t hard-wired just right to match the desired profile, a candidate is rejected. That can be a mistake. For example, let’s say a candidate applies for a sales position and the assessment indicates she’s an introvert. Should that knock-out the candidate from contention? Absolutely not. The focus of the interview should shift to understanding the candidate’s EQ—how does she adapt in situations when she needs to actively socialize?
Test emotional intelligence.
Hiring for job fit is difficult. The research repeatedly shows that most interviews predict job success about as good as flipping a coin. Interviewing for emotional intelligence is even more challenging. The most effective interviewer(s) demonstrate high EQ. They are aware how their environment and others might affect their judgment. They are equally aware how the setting of the interview, the personalities of the interviewers, and the dynamics of the process might impact the candidate’s behavior and responses.