Hiring managers value EQ over IQ

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Hiring managers are increasingly looking for emotional intelligence (EI) abilities compared to IQ in employees, according to a new survey by CareerBuilder.

Thirty-four per cent of hiring managers say they are placing greater emphasis on emotional intelligence when hiring and promoting employees post-recession, while 71% state that they value EI in an employee more than their intellectual abilities (IQ).

EI is a general assessment of a person's abilities to control emotions, to sense, understand and react to others' emotions, and manage relationships. According to the results of the survey, EI is a critical characteristic for landing a job and advancing one's career.

Some 59% of employers say that they would not hire someone who has a high IQ but low EI. For workers being considered for a promotion, the high EI candidate will beat out the high IQ candidate in most cases – 75% of employers state they are more likely to promote the high EI worker.

"The competitive job market allows employers to look more closely at the intangible qualities that pay dividends down the road – like skilled communicators and perceptive team players," said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder.

She highlights that candidates who have better interpersonal skills will stand out from others. "Technical competency and intelligence are important assets for every worker, but when it's down to you and another candidate for a promotion or new job, dynamic interpersonal skills will set you apart. In a recovering economy, employers want people who can effectively make decisions in stressful situations and can empathize with the needs of their colleagues and clients to deliver the best results."

Furthermore, employers explain (in order of importance) why they consider emotional intelligence important.

  • Employees [with high EI] are more likely to stay calm under pressure
  • Employees know how to resolve conflict effectively
  • Employees are empathetic to their team members and react accordingly
  • Employees lead by example
  • Employees tend to make more thoughtful business decisions

More than 2,600 hiring managers and HR professionals were surveyed for this study.

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