71 per cent of employers value emotional intelligence over IQ

'Dynamic interpersonal skills set you apart': CareerBuilder
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 08/22/2011

More than one-third (34) per cent of hiring managers in the United States said they are placing greater emphasis on emotional intelligence when hiring and promoting employees post-recession, according to a CareerBuilder survey. Seventy-one per cent said they value emotional intelligence in an employee more than IQ.

Emotional intelligence (EI) is a general assessment of a person’s abilities to control emotions, to sense, understand and react to others’ emotions, and manage relationships. Fifty-nine per cent of employers would not hire someone who has a high IQ but low EI, found the survey of 2,662 hiring managers and human resource professionals.

For workers being considered for a promotion, a high EI candidate will beat out a high IQ candidate in most cases — 75 per cent of respondents said they’re 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. “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.”

When asked why emotional intelligence is more important than high IQ, employers said (in order of importance) employees with high EI:

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

HR managers and hiring managers assess their candidates’ and employees’ EI by observing a variety of behaviors and qualities. The top responses from the survey were:

•They admit and learn from their mistakes.
•They can keep emotions in check and have thoughtful discussions on tough issues.
•They listen as much or more than they talk.
•They take criticism well.
•They show grace under pressure.

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