More managers value emotional intelligence over IQ

Amidst higher stress levels and economic uncertainties, employers are placing greater emphasis on emotional intelligence when hiring new employees and promoting existing ones.

With smaller staffs, higher stress levels and uncertainties around the economy, employers are changing what they look for in prospective employees. Thirty-four percent of hiring managers said they are placing greater emphasis on emotional intelligence (EI) when hiring and promoting employees post-recession, according to a new CareerBuilder survey. Seventy-one percent said they value emotional intelligence in an employee more than IQ.

Emotional intelligence is a general assessment of a person's abilities to control emotions, to sense, understand and react to others' emotions, and manage relationships. The survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive© on behalf of CareerBuilder. The CareerBuilder national survey from May 19 to June 8, 2011, which polled more than 2600 hiring managers and human resource professionals, revealed that EI is a critical characteristic for landing a job and advancing one's career.

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
  • 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

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