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Use Emotional Intelligence To Find Those Gems

It’s impossible to overestimate the value of emotional intelligence when it comes to recruitment. So, do you have it or can you be taught it? The quick answer is yes, you do have it and you can learn how to use it more effectively.

Much of our emotional intelligence is instinctive. We ‘read’ other people and are influenced by the signs they are giving off without even being aware of it. However, by learning a bit more about these unconscious processes within ourselves, we can ensure we are listening and interpreting our ‘people reading’ skills more effectively.

On a social level, how often have you made an instant decision about a person only to discover, as you get to know them better, that your initial analysis of them was wrong?

As a recruiter, it’s possible you also form opinions about candidates without realising and these impressions may not always be completely accurate. Potentially, ideal candidates will then get overlooked for roles that they would have been perfect for.

Honing your emotional intelligence allows you to find the gems in each candidate – gems that may not be sparkling on the surface, but will make them shine in the right role. For example, it can be easy to miss the signs of a person with great listening skills – dismissing them for certain roles because they appear quiet. This is a simple example, but highlights how emotional intelligence is extremely important for good recruitment.

Many signs that might be interpreted as negative can really be signals of ideal characteristics for specific roles. For example:

• A quiet candidate could be a great listener.

• Someone who comes across as indecisive might actually be displaying a personality that makes them an easy going, adaptable and flexible employee. After all, we can’t all be the decision makers!

• An introverted character might turn out to be someone who is self-motivated and able to work well on their own.

• A person who appears too chatty may make a great staff motivator and someone who naturally boosts moral in the workplace.

• Someone who doesn’t appear to be a fast worker could turn out to be highly accurate and precise (much more of a priority in many roles).

The lesson is, whilst we might trust our ‘gut feelings’, investigating them in a bit more detail can be very valuable. Our ‘gut feelings’ can also often be influenced by society and culture and other external factors, so learning to evaluate them may bring up different results.

An emotionally intelligent recruiter will also be able to bring out skills in candidates that they were not aware of themselves. The candidate who sells herself as ‘a hard worker who responds well under pressure’ may be completely overlooking her skills as a potential team leader who is positive and able to inspire and encourage other colleagues. Digging deep to find and nurture different strengths in candidates will take your recruitment service to another level.

Emotional intelligence is also crucial when establishing what your clients really need. Once the list of qualifications and experience have been established, what traits will make a candidate a great fit? Things to consider include:

• Ethos and culture of the company

• Physical working conditions

• The type of people to be interacted with (colleagues, customers)

• Pace of work

• What the priorities are (speed, accuracy, creativity, patience?)

As a recruiter, you may often find yourself bogged down with lists – goals, targets, essential qualifications etc. By fine-tuning your emotional intelligence, you will be able to see past these; to set yourself apart and offer both candidates and clients a truly valuable service that will lead to long term, successful partnerships.

Of course in this digital age, much of your interaction with both clients and candidates takes place via email and social media. But allowing time for more face-to-face communications will give you the opportunity to use emotional intelligence as a tool that will provide better results - even saving you, your clients and candidates time in the long term.

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