emotional intelligence, matrix, Toby Elwin, blog

Hiring the right person is more emotional than rational

Baratheon on throne, emotional, blog picture
Blame the person, not the crossbow, but I am not sure he is quite the right person, either.

You have to assume every person you interview has the technical skill to do the job. Once past the traditional human resources gate-keeper by the time you meet a candidate they have the skills. Bias is emotional in relation to technical skill.  

When assessing a potential hire, technical skill should not bias your decision, but compliment decisions on how the hire solves your need, how they will fit in within a team, and how they meet your organization’s culture requirements.

Technical Skill Still

If technical skill was the key indicator of future success wouldn’t your hires all work out?  Hiring is more emotional than rational.

When you interview what do you rely on to understand if the candidate can successfully integrate into your culture?  If technical skill or industry experience are all it takes to succeed than highly-selective firms, such as Booz Allen Hamilton, (now Strategy&) and Deloitte Consulting would not find cause to invest more than $6,500 on each employee’s new-hire training over their first year.*

The results of poor hiring and recruiting drag down your company and your team.  A poor hire also risks your firm’s client dissatisfaction.  Each hire is a face of your company and customers and stakeholders have to deal with the results of a poor fit:

  • Does your organization have consistent, organization-wide recruiting strategy?
  • Does your organization provide interview training skills for your interviewers?
  • What is your on-boarding strategy to ease new employee integration?

How does your organization measure fit:

  • GPA?
  • IQ?
  • Work samples?
  • References?
  • Interviews?

Technical skills do not correlate to an effective employee and do not lend insight into someone’s ability to work well with a team, to fit in culturally, to manage, or to lead.

Technical skill does not indicate future success, it is an indication of performing a task.

To assess someone’s potential there are at least 4 levels of fit that matter:

  1. Person to job;
  2. Person to team;
  3. Person to manager; and
  4. Person to culture

That list, like your interview and recruiting strategy, intends to project future performance, but like all the great financial advisors tell us, “past performance is no indication of future results”.

If these assessments worked, the inference would be clear.  Trouble projecting talent is a challenge, even the National Football League at their annual recruiting strategy:  the draft.

Emotional Intelligence

There are, however, indicators beyond someone’s technical skill such as Emotional Intelligence and culture that help improve the likely success for all involved.

Each employee has both internal and external customers and how a candidate interacts with others, how they manage their emotions, and how they manage relationships is extremely important.  Unless you willingly recruit a hermit, people rely on each other to succeed.

The competencies of how people motivate themselves and others is broadly referred to as Emotional Intelligence (EI) and EI highlights the importance of how people interact with others and perform in a team:  their role, how they motivate themselves and others, and if they deliver to the organization’s goals.

In a follow-up post I will focus interviewing for culture, recruiting, and on-boarding success, but this post will look at EI.

EI is the term for how you manage yourself and others and how you react and adapt to challenges through four competencies:

  1. Self-Awareness
  2. Social Awareness
  3. Self-Management, and
  4. Relationship Management

The picture below identifies each competence and categories of each.

ESCI, Emotional Intelligence, matrix, Toby Elwin, blogHiring Emotional Intelligence

A recruiting strategy linked not only to technical need, but collaboration and culture is one of the most powerful ways your organization can remain competitive, reduce costs, and deliver customer excellence.

So, what is the answer what is the prescription?

There is no, single, best answer. There is no blanket prescription. But, there are better approaches.

In a follow-up Hiring the right person is more cultural than technical I will add a second component to recruiting and interviewing that identifies culture at the individual, team, and organization level.  I also provide sample questions you might add to your hiring process to gain a better sense for a candidate’s Emotional Intelligence and the culture type they are likely to succeed best within.

I’m sure you can begin to frame interview questions just on the insights above.

Sources and resources:

*Successful Onboarding: Strategies to Unlock Hidden Value Within Your Organization, by Mark Stein and Lilith Christiansen

toby elwin, emotional intelligence, daniel goleman

toby elwin, Primal Leadership, Learning to Lead, Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, Annie McKee

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