Posted March 9, 2021

Looking for employees who have emotional intelligence? Learn how to use the recruiting process to discover the right candidate

	 Looking for employees who have emotional intelligence? How to use the recruiting process to discover the right candidate

As an employer, you may have come across the perfect candidate, in terms of skills including education and experience needed for a highly technical position. However, once settled into their new role, you quickly realize that no experience can make up for their lack of emotional intelligence. Whether uncooperative, unwillingness to listen to feedback, lack of drive, or lack of social awareness in a group setting, sometimes an employee who on paper looks ideal, may not be the ideal fit.

Despite hiring mistakes like these occurring time and time again, many organizations continue to follow rigid hiring processes. In the traditional recruiting process “Emotional Intelligence” is often overlooked. However, it has been demonstrated to be one of the most crucial indicators to the success of an employee.

Read on to learn the ‘What’, ‘Why’, and ‘How’ of emotional intelligence in the recruiting process. 

What is Emotional Intelligence

Before we can begin addressing emotional intelligence in the recruiting process, we must first understand what it means to be emotionally intelligent. 

Emotional intelligence can be defined as an individual’s ability to control, monitor, and understand their emotions to best benefit themselves and those around them. Typically emotional intelligence can be described as having high levels of these five personality traits:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-regulation
  • Motivation
  • Empathy
  • Social skills

With “emotional intelligence”, employees can effectively perform their roles and elevate the work environment.

Why Emotionally Intelligent Employees are Valuable

An employee’s emotional intelligence can be one of the most valuable assets for the organization. Below are four of the most obvious and arguably the most important reasons for this:

  • The employee can work well in any team environment and can demonstrate this not only through performance but also through the perception/likability of other team members
  • The employee can handle high-stress and high-pressure situations without breaking down or significantly reducing their performance in the workplace
  • The employee can effectively demonstrate their ability to be a leader by serving a leadership role or by gaining the respect of their coworkers
  • The employee can listen to and implement feedback into their workplace performance without resistance or dismissal 

All in all, employees with high emotional intelligence continue to demonstrate their self-awareness and empathy even when they face a challenge. 

How to Identify Emotionally Intelligent Candidates

Now that we fully understand the importance of employees with high levels of emotional intelligence, we must learn to actively look for it during the recruiting and hiring process, as emotional intelligence can be hard to spot. 

During the recruiting process, there is no way to identify an emotionally intelligent employee through their resume. For this reason, testing emotional intelligence should be done by asking behavioural questions during the interviewing process. We mean questions that demonstrate how an employee did or would react to a particular situation. These questions are often asked in a way that leads an interviewee to answer using the CAR method (Circumstance, Action, and Result). 

Here are several examples of behavioural questions:

  • Describe a time when you were working in a team and had to overcome conflict?
  • Sometimes we make mistakes in the workplace. Can you describe a time you made a mistake?
  • Describe a time where you were under a high-pressure situation and how you overcame it?
  • Tell me about your proudest professional moment?


Understanding the emotional intelligence of your employees is as important as identifying their technical or soft skills. Though additional focus on ‘emotional intelligence’ may increase your time-to-hire, looking for this one additional criterion will significantly reduce any bad hiring decisions and increase your employees’ performance. 

Are you looking to hire new talent? Send us your requirements at and we will help you find a perfect fit. For more exciting tips and tricks remember to like us on Facebook and do follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn. Apply to all our latest job openings here.