Why is Emotional Intelligence Important in Recruitment?

Why is Emotional Intelligence Important in Recruitment?

When one thinks of finding the right candidate for the organisation, whether you are a recruiter or business owner in healthcare, one is looking for the right skills and attitude to fit in the organisation.

Working with care homes or health providers and offering a service to patients and residents is a 24-hour business. The responsibility falls on the facility and this can be taxing. One is not only handling their own shift but also ensuring that correct information is passed from one shift to another. There are many skills required that are not just technical.

 After all, it is a people business.

The problems faced by recruiters today

In my last article, we looked at the importance of hospitality in the health and care sectors.  Nowadays, people expect more and this was especially true during the pandemic when people became more isolated and vulnerable.

 The challenge in the market today is there is not a big enough pool to attract people to work in this profession. This is not only in the UK but seems to be in other parts of Europe and in the United States, too.

 From such a limited pool, how do recruiters draw the best fitting candidates to health care? Does this dovetail with the candidates own sense of purpose?

 From a candidate’s view, what do they look for? They will check the salary, as most of us do, as well as the cultural fit of the organisation. They might also look for opportunities to progress, the quality of their potential colleagues, training and career advancement options, management. This is all relatively normal when searching for a new role.

 I think now though, there is another question being asked by professionals at the recruitment stage.

 Is there empathy and compassion in the workplace?

The candidate of today is more motivated by the way the recruiter or manager interviews them and will make a judgement based on whether or not they feel comfortable. The tables have turned. Gone are the days when the recruiter had a pool of good candidates. Now the candidate is doing the assessing as they have so much choice.

Professionals face many challenges in this rapidly changing world. Leaders and all levels of employees need to be more flexible than ever before. They need to be adaptable and they need the skills required to work well with others.

Emotional intelligence drives every aspect of the process, from interviewing the right candidate to building an organisational culture within.

Hiring for a person who does not get thrown off balance and has the ability to work with others, has good listening skills and is willing to collaborate and grow, will give organisations this balance.

If you were to look at the profile of an emotionally intelligent professional, one thing that really sticks out is self-motivation. Most organisations have been through many changes during this pandemic and dealt with many issues, so it seems that emotional intelligence is not only needed for the candidates but also for the managers.

Individuals who know themselves better, understand the power of their emotions, know how to navigate these in a healthy way, are more mindful of others, and listen to others with empathy and compassion are the best ones for these positions.

Success from a recruiting perspective then, and for retention, is to select candidates with the right cultural fit and a strong emotional intelligence skillset.

Depending on the level one is bringing into the organisation, their competencies within emotional intelligence will vary ie. dealing with difficult people, versus influencing change.

What is emotional intelligence and why is it important?

As the CEO of Six Seconds Joshua Freedman puts it, emotional intelligence is “a way of recognizing, understanding, and choosing how we think, feel, and act.”

“It shapes our interactions with others and our understanding of ourselves,” he says. “It defines how and what we learn; it allows us to set priorities; it determines the majority of our daily actions.”

Joshua Freedman, who is ever enlightening on the subject of emotional intelligence, often refers to a persuasive piece of research that indicates emotional intelligence is responsible for almost 80% of the success we enjoy throughout life.

The pandemic disrupted people’s lives very quickly. Many people had to shift gears and multi-task. For some, this has presented many mixed emotions.

The art of emotional intelligence is to recognise and acknowledge how we are feeling and ask ourselves why. Reacting out of fear and being hijacked can prevent us from thinking straight. If we can grasp this, then we are able to prevent things from escalating and causing friction. We must learn to reflect before we act.

The health and care sectors have had many demands on the people who work within.

The best coping mechanism for many, it appears, is to know how to recognise emotions and put some simple techniques in place to regulate them, so they do not react negatively to every situation.

Those people have been able to focus with optimism and focus on the task at hand. They are able to collaborate and ask for help and are more comfortable with themselves. Generally speaking, they are able to see things from the perspective of others and listen with a caring ear.

How can understanding emotional intelligence help you identify better candidates?

Once we know the right questions in an interview, especially those that are situational, we are able to see if a candidate is reactive or can think through solutions that are specific to the organisation’s culture. Here are examples to ask at two different levels of the care sector.

Example: You are new to the industry and have been asked to conduct a complicated procedure.

  • Do you just try to do it based on seeing someone do this?
  • Do you recognise that you have not done one before and leave it?
  • Do you ask someone who has done this before to help you?

 Example: You are short-staffed and in charge of the shift. What do you do?

  • Do you complain to everyone about how terrible the situation is?
  • Do you decide that you are just going to put a stop to this?
  • Do you look at the staff you have and collaborate with them on how best to fix the situation currently and tackle the problem later?
  • Do you get on the phone and run around to find people to come in?

These are just a couple of scenarios.

When trying to look for the right candidate, having situational questions can draw some valuable insights. An example of a checklist might be:

  • Flexible
  • A problem solver
  • Good at risk management
  • Adaptable
  • Willing to learn
  • Willing to take feedback onboard
  • Solutions-focused
  • Calm under pressure
  • Empathetic
  • Compassionate

Look for flexibility, adaptability, problem-solving skills, solution-focused mindset, calm demeanour. Make an example of your own checklist and then identify situational questions that draw out some behaviours.

It may be worthwhile building a simple test that reflects the organisational culture from top to bottom, filled with situational prompts that tease the candidate’s personality out.

How do we ensure we have good retention?

Whether you are a recruiter working for an organisation or within the organisation, understanding the candidate’s journey once they have been hired is also important. Every organisation needs a good onboarding programme.

The first month of a new employee’s journey in a company is crucial. The recruiter can give insight to the management team on the candidate’s strengths and challenges. This allows the company to factor in the right type of training and supports the candidate’s needs according to their level of expertise.

Knowing their personality and how they fit helps the organisation observe how they respond to learning.

So, to conclude, it is about time we pay particular attention to emotional intelligence during the recruitment, onboarding, and training stages. It is shown time and again that its inclusion into the modern workplace brings a raft of benefits, and its impact would be felt all the same in recruitment.

If you need any guidance, book a free consultation with me and we can discuss your challenges.