EI or IQ? Employers Weigh In

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newsA new survey by Careerbuilder, a global leader in human capital solutions, has found that 71 percent of employers value emotional intelligence in an employee over IQ. Emotional intelligence, of course, refers to one’s ability to identify and manage emotions in such a way that leads to higher performance or increased problem solving.

Employers were also asked “why” they valued Emotional Intelligence (EI) over IQ. Their answers in order of importance were as follows:

  1. Employees with high EI are more likely to stay calm under pressure
  2. Employees with high EI know how to resolve conflict effectively
  3. Employees with high EI are empathetic to their team members and react accordingly
  4. Employees with high EI lead by example
  5. Employees with high EI tend to make more thoughtful business decisions

The survey suggests that economic uncertainty has factored into employer’s willingness to hire and retain emotionally intelligent workers. 34 percent of hiring managers said they are currently placing greater emphasis on emotional intelligence when hiring and promoting in a post-recession environment. 59 percent of employers said they would not hire someone with high IQ but low Emotional Intelligence. Additionally, when employers were asked which hypothetical worker they would rather consider for a promotion, 75 percent said they were more likely to promote the high Emotional Intelligence worker.

“The competitive job market allows employers to look more closely at the intangible qualities that pay dividends down the road – like skilled communicators and perceptive team players,” said Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources at CareerBuilder. “Technical competency and intelligence are important assets for every worker, but when it’s down to you and another candidate for a promotion or new job, dynamic interpersonal skills will set you apart. In a recovering economy, employers want people who can effectively make decisions in stressful situations and can empathize with the needs of their colleagues and clients to deliver the best results.”

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Marie is a writer for Recruiter.com covering career advice, recruitment topics, and HR issues. She has an educational background in languages and literature as well as corporate experience in Human Resources.