The Power of Emotional Intelligence in Recruitment – by Chloë Sonnois

I. What and Why?

Artificial Intelligence has been a white hot topic in the Consumer Goods industry lately. Of equal importance, but far less discussed, the idea of emotional intelligence.

According to Psychology Today, emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others.

This is a critical skill, given that we have about 400 emotional experiences each day whether conscious or not. It impacts the way we see our self, the world around us, and affects how we pursue our goals. Therefore, understanding our emotions is the best way to produce the behavior we want to carry out.

Thankfully, recognizing our capability to exercise emotional intelligence is never too late. Unlike personality and IQ which are crystalized at a young age, emotional intelligence is flexible and responsive to change. The best part is, once you become aware of your emotions and take the blinders off, it becomes difficult not to do something productive with that.

In other words, it’s that added magic that some people possess that makes people want to work with them.

II. EI and Recruitment

In the field of recruitment, noting the mere existence and power of emotional intelligence is an effective way of understanding people, their respective industries, and what environment they best fit into.

Research found that most candidates between middle management and CEO positions have the lowest rates of emotional Intelligence. Theories are that this is due to promotion being generally based on opportunity, timing, tenure, and short-term financial gains.

As recruiters, we know that pairing up talent with a job is not solely based on experience and qualifications, but also based on pairing personality within a specific team. When we interview candidates and speak to clients, we actively—even subconsciously—note cues like mannerisms, responses, how they portray themselves. Ultimately, this means we assess the emotional intelligence of the other person.

What differentiates the quality of work amongst recruiters is being able to recognize, find, and place well-rounded candidates, and not just those who have ticked the traditional boxes. This is crucial for the long-term success of a company, it’s productivity and cohesive work fabric.

Therefore, explicitly adding Emotional Intelligence to our toolbox is an effective way to make increasingly successful placements, promote stronger relationships with clients and becomes a useful strategy from a business development perspective.

III. EI and Ambition

Reminding a candidate that they possess emotional intelligence and can use it as a tool to find and hold down a new opportunity is crucial.

Here are three basic ways to increase EI according to research:

1. Get stress under control:

  • Stress is bad news: it compromises the immunize system, increases rates of obesity, diabetes, depression
  • Intervention strategy: cultivate an attitude of gratitude

2. Clean up sleep hygiene:

  • When you are awake, toxic proteins build up and sleep removes them. If you’re not getting enough sleep, these toxic proteins build up, hinder your capacity to think, make you groggy, and reduce self-control
  • Intervention strategy:
    • Avoid artificial sleep aids (the three glasses of wine at the end of the day or the melatonin bottle some people use to initially fall asleep). They impair your body’s ability to naturally remove toxic proteins and long-term ability to do so.
    • Lighting: Morning time is full of blue wavelengths light and wakes up your body, evening time is full of red and orange which sparks the creation of melatonin. That natural process gets disturbed when we flood our brain with blue light again by watching tv or lingering on the iPad. This affects sleep quality immediately and over time.

3. Get caffeine intake under control

  • Caffeine has long half-life of six hours, avoid post lunch
  • Know how it affects your body as it is different for different people

My main job was developing talent. I was a gardener providing water and other nourishment to our top 750 people. Of course, I had to pull out some weeds, too.

Jack Welch