Most good hiring teams make use of appropriate hiring metrics to help them manage team performance and service levels. Cost to hire and time to hire have been popular metrics in this time-pressurized, talent-starved climate we are operating in. However, a study from Future Step last year revealed that hiring metrics are now becoming more sophisticated and focused on factors, such as performance of new hire and new hire retention over and above factors like cost of hire and time to hire.
There is a much greater emphasis on quality of hire. Since quality of hire is now becoming a key metric, recruiters need to be adapting their processes so they are better able to deliver high performers more of the time, even if it costs more or takes a little longer.
One key way to increase quality of hire is to focus on EQ rather than IQ during hiring. EQ is an indicator of a person’s ability to manage their own emotions and relations with others, and a study by Goleman of 200 companies revealed that EQ accounts for two-thirds of the performance difference between individuals, while IQ and technical ability accounts for just one-third.
In short, high EQ is the strongest indicator of a quality hire/candidate; a stronger indicator than their IQ level and technical ability level. In fact, there are countless studies showing that individuals with high EQ tend to perform better than those with lower EQ in working situations.
So, by hiring individuals with high EQ, you will arguably be making a better quality hire. So, how can you screen for EQ? There are several techniques.
The following six emotional competencies were shown in a study by Spencer in 1997 to differentiate stars from average performing executives: Influence, Team Leadership, Organizational Awareness, Self-confidence, Achievement Drive, and Leadership. So, you should ideally include behavioral questions based on these competencies in your interview process.
As we have shown in previous articles, structured behavioral questions have been shown to be the most reliable interview assessment tool, but psychometric tests were also found to be reliable. So, since EQ is such a crucial indicator of quality of hire, why not also do an EQ-based psychometric test? There are many providers of these tests in the market places and there are three main instruments which assess EQ: Emotional Competence Inventory (ECI), Dr Reuven’s Bar-In EQ-i, and the Multifactor Emotional Intelligence Scale.
But, it doesn’t simply stop with using EQ assessment techniques in your hiring process, the findings have to actually be incorporated into the actual selection decision.
Remember, EQ is thought to account for about two-thirds of the candidate’s future performance, while IQ and technical ability account for one-third. It means EQ is a much stronger indicator of superstar status than IQ and technical competency. This may be a hard pill for hiring managers to swallow. Will they really be keen to accept a lesser qualified candidate on the basis that they have higher EQ?
EQ-based hiring teams will need to exhibit EQ themselves to influence and persuade hiring managers to accept this new definition of quality of hire based on these soft skills rather than the traditional hard skills.