The world faces a talent shortage, and businesses are at a loss as to what to do. In the U.S. alone, 46 percent of employers are struggling to fill open positions, according to a survey by the Manpower Group. However, when most people think of the phrase "talent shortage," they picture a series of candidates without the required knowledge or training to handle the job. While a lack of specific skills is certainly a contributor to the difficulty businesses have hiring new employees, it's not the only issue. In fact, many hiring managers overlook the importance of emotional intelligence when evaluating a candidate.
"Emotional intelligence is key when collaboration is vital to a company's success."
Of course, as human resources managers and recruiters struggle to fill skilled trade, tech, sales, and educational positions, one might wonder if emotional intelligence is really that important. The answer is yes, especially in a world where collaboration is becoming increasingly vital to a company's success. Psychology Today defines this type of intelligence as a person's ability to manage the emotions of themselves and the people around them. It requires self awareness, emotional regulation and the ability to cheer others on or calm them down. Imagine trying to lead a team full of people without these essential skills.
Unfortunately, a candidate's lack of emotional intelligence often isn't discovered until after the person is hired. The person has all the right qualities on paper but is unable to work effectively with clients or coworkers. So, while they have the right hard skills for the job, they lack vital soft skills.
This is why every hiring manager should consider emotional intelligence when trying to devise a hiring strategy that addresses the talent shortage. Checking for this essential soft skill during the hiring process helps companies avoid the expensive, time-consuming process of selecting and onboarding someone who ends up being a bad fit.
Hiring for emotional intelligence
To ensure success and address the talent shortage across all areas, businesses must focus on hiring candidates with emotional intelligence. However, as Fast Company noted, many businesses inadvertently discourage people from continuing through the hiring process - primarily because the process itself is devoid of emotional intelligence.
When human resource managers design their hiring strategies, they often fall into the trap of creating a process that only considers the business' side, not the candidates'. Everything is designed to make the process more efficient for the hiring manager, which often has the unintended effect of making things more frustrating for people applying to the position. By not focusing enough on the candidate's needs, the handful of candidates who are fully qualified for the position are reluctant to continue the process. In fact, Fast Company cited a LinkedIn survey which found 83 percent of candidates said a bad interview - one that doesn't consider their needs - makes them reevaluate their interest in a position.
To combat the prevalence of low emotional intelligence, HR departments need to take a good look at their hiring strategies. The tools and methods they use must support both hiring staff and the candidates they're trying to attract.
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