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Monday, 20 October 2014

Do you have the emotional intelligence employers seek?

image: mashable composite. getty creative, iheartcat

Do you have the emotional intelligence employers seek?

You’re a more-than-qualified professional ready to take on the job market, 
and although you know the job search can be highly competitive, you believe your experience, 
online reputation and accomplishments will make you a shoe-in at any organization. 
There’s just one problem: No one is calling you back. 
This is an all-too-common story in the job search saga. 
With an average of 250 resumes received per corporate job opening, 
it's clear that employers are looking for a little something extra in applicants — 
and perhaps the key factor you’re missing is emotional intelligence.

Job seekers tend to focus only on their professional experience. 
However, employers are constantly on the lookout for smart people who are not only experts
in their fields, but also have the emotional intelligence to become a well-rounded worker 
and a fit within the company's culture. 

Employees with emotional intelligence can instantly take the temperature of the room 
and adjust to different personalities.
These are the people who find it easy to get along with coworkers 
and who work well as part of integrated teams.

Do you have the emotional intelligence of a truly great professional? 
Below are a few factors that go into developing and displaying your emotional intelligence 
in a job search setting.

Emotional intelligence: An overview
If you know you have to pull out all the bells and whistles to really boost your chances of job search success, showcasing emotional intelligence can be a highly beneficial way to get there.
Daniel Goleman first brought the term "emotional intelligence" to the masses in 1995 in his book 
of the same name. According to Goleman, great leaders are often distinguished by emotional intelligence, which includes self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills. 
While these are often referred to as "soft skills," 

Goleman found direct correlations between emotional intelligence and measurable business results.

While methods like IQ assessments have traditionally been shown to predict job search success, research shows that these tests aren’t nearly as accurate when used alone as when 
they are combined with assessments of the cognitive and social abilities that comprise 
someone's emotional intelligence.

Interviews are key
While interviews are a great place to talk about your specific industry skills, they're an even better setting to put your emotional intelligence on display. Many employers use the interview process to ask questions about why you want to work for the organization, what career goals you want to achieve and what exactly about the role would make you excited to get up in the morning. 
When you showcase your emotional intelligence in addition to your core skills, 
you’ll likely be seen as a balanced professional.
For instance, candidates should speak convincingly about collaborative work in former assignments, share how they interacted with team members and discuss successful outcomes of projects. 
The ability to work effectively with other people and resolve conflicts can be an indicator 
of one’s emotional intelligence, and a job interview is a great place to showcase this.
Here are a few questions employers might ask prospective candidates in order 
to gauge emotional intelligence.
Tell me about a time when you were involved in a conflict with a coworker. 
How was the issue resolved? 
What actions did you take to alleviate the tension?
Describe a project in which you worked as a part of a team. 
What was your role and what were your contributions?
Do you tend to work well in a team setting?

Stay flexible
Staying flexible is also important to your overall emotional intelligence. Flexibility may mean different things to different employers, from working cross-departmentally to completing tasks remotely.

Show employers you have the ability to adapt to new environments and work with a wide variety 
of people in order to communicate the flexibility of your emotional intelligence. 
Employers want to know you can adapt to anything thrown your way, 
and high levels of emotional intelligence can help you succeed in a variety of situations. 
In a global marketplace, this can be the difference between "You’re hired!" and unemployment.

For example, let’s say you have experience in client-facing roles. Your job revolves around knowing what the client wants before they ask for it, providing advice, managing expectations 
and goals and speaking to them respectfully. In any given moment, these duties could be mixed, slashed or appended to fit the needs of the client. While these may seem like "normal" job duties, they clearly demonstrate your emotional intelligence, since they not only speak of your ability 
to stay flexible, but also demonstrate the skills needed to be a driven employee.

Passion goes a long way
Employers are always looking for the secret ingredient to create a better team. 
Perhaps the most important characteristic is passion — and therefore it's an essential attribute to communicate during the job search. True enthusiasm means more than reading up on the industry, and candidates with emotional intelligence understand they need to do more to impress employers. Passions for extracurricular and volunteer activities may also be 
good ways to illustrate emotional intelligence.
For example, my company recently hired an outstanding, gifted pianist — not only because 
of her professional set of skills, but also due to her ability to present very deep passion for music 
and excellence. Although these two may not seem like they’re related, having an intense vigor 
for your interests is a trait that can convert into superior job performance. 
Ultimately, it shows that by putting your focus and energy into one task, 
you can create success and cultivate a spirited enthusiasm for your work.

Building on your emotional intelligence
While emotional intelligence may come easily to some, it may not to others. 
As mentioned above, being aware of the passion and enthusiasm you’re displaying for the job, 
as well as demonstrating your ability to be flexible in any work situation is a great start.
A more concrete way to hone in on your emotional intelligence is to understand and determine 
where your strengths and weaknesses lie. To do so, you can take a free online test, on platforms such as TalentSmartMySkillsProfile and IHHP.
Once you know the strengths you can build on and what you need to improve upon, 
you can allow that information to drive the approach you take in your job search. 
For instance, highlight your strengths in your resume, cover letter and during your interviews. 
Try to not touch directly on the weaknesses you uncovered, but be aware of them and make sure 
you are prepared to address them in questions that come up throughout the interviewing process.
If your job search has hit a dead end, take a look at your level of emotional intelligence 
and see how you can translate it into more successful outcomes. 
While emotional intelligence may not seem to be as important of a skill as, say, technical expertise, 
it can be the key you need to stand out in a competitive job market.

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