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Employers value EI over IQ

With leaner staffs, higher stress levels and uncertainties around the economy, are employers still looking to the smartest workers to lead their organisations?

Seventy-eight per cent of employers said they value emotional intelligence (EI) in an employee more than IQ, according to a new survey. More than half of employers said they would not hire someone who has a high IQ but low EI. Emotional Intelligence (EI) 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 of more than 100 UK business leaders reveals that EI is a critical characteristic for landing a job.

When asked why emotional intelligence is more important than high IQ, employers said (in order of importance: Employees [with high EI] are empathetic to their team members and react accordingly; Employees know how to appeal to customers; Employees are more likely to stay calm under pressure; Employees know how to motivate others; Employees know how to resolve conflict effectively and Employees lead by example.

“The competitive job market in the UK is allowing businesses to examine candidates’ intangible qualities that could positively benefit the company in the future – such as a strong team player or the ability to make smart business decisions under pressure,” said Tony Roy, president of CareerBuilder EMEA. “Competency and intelligence are important assets for every worker, but when it’s down to two candidates for an open position, strong interpersonal skills will set them apart. As the economy slowly begins to recover, employers will look to employees to make effective decisions in stressful situations and can empathise with the needs of their colleagues and clients.”

Employers assess their candidates’ and employees’ EI by observing a variety of behaviors and qualities. The top responses from the survey were: They listen as much or more than they talk; they admit and learn from their mistakes; they show ability to empathise with others; they can keep emotions in check and have thoughtful discussions on tough issues and they take criticism well.

Survey methodology
An online survey of 547 business leaders in the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Sweden was conducted in a range of organisations between 3 June and 8 June, 2011. Business leaders included C-level executives, directors and senior managers with recruitment responsibilities. The survey was conducted online by Shape the Future, a market research agency based near London which specialises in high speed online research.

The total sample size in the UK was 109, giving a margin of error of 9.4 per cent at 95 per cent confidence. The survey was conducted strictly according to the code of conduct of the UK’s Market Research Society.


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