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How Recruiters Spot Emotional Intelligence

13/11/2017 by Nandip Aulak


This week is Anti Bullying Week. While sometimes we think about bullying as just being in the playground, it can happen in the workplace too. But empathic and emotionally intelligent staff help cultivate a happy and safe workplace.

Emotional intelligence is a vital asset for those working in people management, decision making and personal competence. These qualities are core parts of natural leaders and high-value hires, but can be difficult to assess when you’re meeting people for the first time or perusing a CV.

When you’re looking to fill positions with talent that not only has the skills, but the right emotional capacity, you need to know how to identify emotional intelligence. This will allow you to choose the best-rounded candidate for your business culture. Remember, recruitment is not just a box-ticking exercise of skill proficiency.

What is emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is one’s capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions. It also defines one’s capacity to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically. Emotional intelligence plays a key factor in the relationship between sex, power and harassment in the workplace. It can also influence how well you handle everyday stress and anxiety and your ability to push yourself.

Managers with high emotional intelligence are able to get the best out of their charges by cultivating a positive work environment that allows them to achieve more and feel valued. They are able to handle a broad range of personalities across the emotional spectrum, allowing your business to become more diverse and inclusive at all levels.

How do we identify emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence plays a key role in recruitment. That’s why we put so much energy into developing strong, lasting relationships with our clients and candidates. It’s only through conversation, mutual respect and insight that you can begin to really get a feel for someone’s emotional intelligence. The clue really is in the name: it’s about feeling it. Here are a few of the things we look for when assessing emotional intelligence:


Individuals with high emotional intelligence are kind, assertive, transparent and comfortable in themselves. They don’t need to hide behind a façade or get withdrawn when faced with tough situations or conflict.

A CV provides a snapshot of a candidate’s skills and experience. To really get to know our candidates we take the time to build up relationships. We don’t just match skilled candidates with specific roles, we consider the individual’s character and whether they will make a good culture fit.


Empathy is our awareness of the feelings of those around us. Empathic people tend to be more curious about the people around them. They care about what they’re going through and are able to recognise how those around them feel and adapt their approach accordingly.

As recruiters, we show empathy to our clients and candidates every day. This is because we understand the emotional impact of career development. Often, the decision to take on an exciting new role changes a candidate's life forever. For our clients, we are introducing a new person to their carefully grown culture and need to trust that the hire won't upset the environment. Filling a position has an impact on so many people's everyday lives. This is why empathy is so important to what we do. We need to be aware and sensitive to everyone's feelings and expectations.

The value of emotionally intelligent candidates

In teams that thrive, you'll find people displaying total authenticity. They lead conversations and interactions with their mind and their heart, during good times and bad.

Emotionally intelligent people tend to be more self-confident and open-minded, which makes them tolerant and patient managers. A manager with these qualities is more likely to be supportive of their team and care about their success and wellbeing.

People are drawn to empathy. It's a vital quality in building successful relationships at work and in life. In fact, research into the "soft" skills of the most successful managers demonstrates that empathy is the leading driver of overall business performance.

People with high emotional intelligence are an invaluable force to any organisation. They are caring, self-motivated and positive individuals that not only bring the best to every task, but know exactly how to bring it out in others. This is why we work so hard to tap into the emotional intelligence in ourselves, so that we can better find it in our candidates.


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