The Importance of Hiring Emotionally Intelligent People

Have you read any job descriptions lately? Maybe on LinkedIn browsing or helping a friend find employment?

If you read enough, you start to get lost in the same buzzwords over and over again. I’ll spell it out for you….

  • “Team Player”
  • “Customer Service”
  • “Meets Objectives”
  • “Proven Success”
  • “Work Ethic”
  • “Integrity”


We all know the drill. They are the same buzzwords in interviews and employee evaluations.

But they often fail to truly describe what everyone is looking for in hiring good people: Emotional Intelligence.

Emotional Intelligence is different from Industry Intelligence. Industry Intelligence is brought out with pedigree and training.

Emotional Intelligence, on the other hand, is not so easily taught by a book or lecture. It is also not easily proven or measured. It will not typically be included in any training program. Certainly aspects of it are sprinkled throughout HR onboarding and interviews, but most companies never address it directly.

People who understand emotions make better leaders.

They can manage conflict, motivate others, and handle stress. But why is this ignored so often in the hiring process?

The hard truth is our society is so caught up in hiring the best credentials that hiring managers are not making this an equal priority. This is a mistake!

Take a moment and reflect on people you worked with in the past or currently. Do you work with someone who is skilled but difficult? I once worked with someone who refused to consider any ideas but their own. Did they have good ideas? Sure! But so did everyone else.

This one really smart person destroyed the team moral and ultimately caused other equally smart people to leave. That one pedigree-smart person caused the company to lose numerous people who had both pedigree and Emotional Intelligence. This same person caused issues with clients, not in work output or quality, but in conversationally offending people.

If you ask a numbers person to assess the cost of this damage, it’s a massive number. Let’s say this person caused you to lose 3 good people and 3 clients…let that sit for a moment…was the pedigree really worth it?

Now, how do you know if someone is Emotionally Intelligent?

It’s easy…talk to them! When you are interviewing someone, stop the “top 3 best characteristics and 3 worst” nonsense. Emotional Intelligence resides in-between those traits so stop wasting your time.

If you don’t know how to start a conversation without those questions, then you may want to rethink your own Emotional Intelligence. A good interview is a conversation. It should feel natural and be enjoyable by both parties. If it feels forced or awkward, this is a sign of things to come!

Check out Brandon Redlinger, Director of Growth at Engagio, discussing Emotional Intelligence in Account-Based Marketing, HERE.


Braedi Leigh