3 Reasons Employers Value EQ over IQ

January 3, 2017


Math, science, and technology are the major topics within school programs and college entrance exams that are supposed to prepare your future employees with the technical skills required to complete their jobs. So why is it that 1 in 3 hiring managers say that there is a factor more important than a candidates’ cognitive ability?

Intelligence Quotient (IQ) has had to take a side seat to Emotional Intelligence (EQ) as the more important quality in employees and studies have confirmed that this priority is warranted.

Since the introduction of EQ to the business world, there have been a number of impressive results from companies that studied the emotional intelligence of their leadership and workforce including:

  • Pepsico: Executives selected for EQ competencies generated 10% more productivity
  • L’Oreal: High EQ sales people produced $2.5 million more in sales
  • Sheraton: An EQ initiative increased market shares by 24%
  • S. Airforce: Using EQ to screen pararescue jumpers has saved $190 million (academia.edu)

There are three simple attributes that allow Emotionally Intelligent people to rise above and capture the attention of both prospective and current employers:

1. Motivation to Improve in All Areas

There is something to be said for the employee that takes an active interest in continuous improvement to stay on top of their craft, but hard skills will only take them so far. Emotionally Intelligent people strive to continue learning in all areas including their soft skills in communications, leadership, problem solving, and time management. Utilizing strengths in both skill sets is what will take projects and initiatives to the finish line.

2. Ability to Energize and Influence Others

In his book Hiring With Your Head, Lou Adler presented a formula for predicting the Performance of a candidate:

Success = Talent x Energy2 + Team Leadership + Comparable Past Performance + Job Specific Problem Solving

There are many elements from this equation, but Adler proposes that the Team Leadership quality is very similar to Emotional Intelligence because it is the candidates’ ability to persuade and motivate others. This ability to influence can be applied to every area from the success of a project to positively affecting company culture.

3. Ability to Handle Leadership Challenges 

The element of team leadership above must also include the ability to handle leadership challenges that inevitably surface. Whether it is a challenge that necessitates conflict resolution or quick problem solving, one of the attributes of high EQ individuals is essential: remaining calm under pressure. This attribute is essential to employers looking for an individual that can keep a team on track despite the obstacles and deliver results!

As the premier executive search firm in the Midwest, The Overture Group evaluates each candidate for emotional intelligence and long term success. Contact us today to get started on your path to finding the right fit for your leadership positions.

*Adler, Lou. Hire With Your Head, 3rd Edition. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons. 2007.

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