Articles

Published December 1999

EQ-i: A Successful Hiring Strategy (Part 1 of 5)

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Try answering the following questions.

Place a check mark () in the box if the item relates to you. Think about experiences you have had in hiring people. At the end of all the items, add up your check marks. See if you score a perfect 5.

QUESTION: If you got a Perfect 5 on the simple test above, congratulations!

The big question now becomes:

What can you do to get a “Perfect 5" in real life, in a real hiring situation

SITUATION:
You know you have to hire some new employees for your rapidly expanding business. You also know that some of the employees now on staff are not pulling their weight. When you hired these people, they came with what you thought was “the right stuff,” but you have come to realize that the right stuff was only in the technical task-related routines they were trained in. You now know that their interpersonal skills, team skills and general willingness “to pull together,” as you call it, are missing. You are determined not to let that happen again.

QUESTIONS:(1)
Would you like to hire people who ...

1. Know and feel good about themselves, are independent, strong, confident in conveying their ideas and beliefs, and who feel positive about what they are doing in their lives?
2. Are able to interact well with people, be a team player, be responsible and dependable, who have good social skills and relate well to others?
3. Can cope with work demands, effectively "size up" and deal with problem situations, who are generally flexible, realistic, effective in understanding these problem situations and who are competent at solving them?
4. Can deal with stress without "falling apart," or losing control, who generally are calm, rarely impulsive, and work well under pressure?
5. Are able to enjoy life, have an optimistic outlook, who are cheerful, hopeful and create a healthy positive motivational work environment?

my score

ANSWER: Read on.

"If I could ...." How many times have you made that statement about people whom you've hired?

In commenting on dealing with difficult employees, John Aylen, a Montreal-based owner of a marketing and communications firm and author of The Common Sense Guide to Running Your Own Business, says:

I have a very short answer to the question of how to deal with difficult people -- get rid of them. When an employee or supplier complains constantly, throws fits or is never satisfied, it's important to act quickly. You can't win. So get out of the game as fast as you can. If you don't, chances are the problem will continue at the expense of everyone else's morale and well-being.(2)

The ideal situation – especially with employees – is not ending up with difficult ones. The human resource answer is to be proactive.In an on-going series of five articles, I will be outlining steps to being proactive by describing the essence of what is now termed "emotional intelligence," or EQ. If IQ tells you what a person can do, EQ tells you what a person will do.Willingness is integral to creating a motivational environment, at home and at work. Willingness names the key to getting all the pieces to work together. Willingness fits in with maturity. Recently a manager spoke to me about an employee. I reprint (with permission) the gist of the conversation below.

We took great trouble to find the "right" person for us this time. But what I've come to realize from the work you do with EQ testing and the workplace is that we forgot the main thing. We got "the brains on the books," so to speak, but we didn't get "the heart." We didn't get the emotional commitment we needed. We were mesmerized, I guess, by the technical and intellectual capabilities of the new hire that we just naturally assumed that the productivity would flow as a result. It did for awhile, but then we started getting what I call "water cooler reports" – longtime employees complaining about the new person's attitude, co-operation, and willingness to pull her weight. They felt that she was "above" them because of her superior intellect. It was subtle, but her attitude created a poisoned atmosphere little by little. Other employees didn't want to work with her any more because, no matter what they did, she always commented on it, leaving a feeling that if she had done the work, it would have been done better, faster, or more efficiently. Naturally, people resented all this. At the end of her probation period, we did not renew her contract and let her go – even after we brought all this feedback to her attention. Ironically, she agreed with most of it. The real clincher was when she said, "But, that's me! I'm not going to change! I'm not good at change!" Our line of work is relationship-driven.

The manager described this situation to me with genuine pain in her eyes. She had to let go someone who was technically competent, but emotionally stunted. She couldn't (literally) afford keeping this woman on staff.

THE FIVE QUESTIONS

The 5 questions I posted in the box above refer to the 5 dimensions, or composite scales, on the scientific EQ-i (Emotional Quotient-Inventory) test that has been designed and validated around the world with nearly 20,000 people by Dr. Reuven BarOn, the clinical psychologist/developer. Dr. BarOn's research describes emotional intelligence as "the aggregate of abilities, competencies, and skills [that] represent a collection of knowledge used to cope with life effectively."(3)

The five EQ-i composition scales referring to questions 1-5 (above) are as follows:

Scale Meaning
Intrapersonal Ability to know myself, my feelings, feel positive about what I am doing in life.
Interpersonal Ability to interact, relate well with others, have good social skills.
Adaptability Ability to be flexible, realistic, solve problems.
Stress
Management
Ability to work well under pressure without losing control.
General Mood Ability to be optimistic, cheerful, create a positive atmosphere in workplace.

I think most of us would want this "right stuff" in making our hiring decision. The "technical stuff" is essential; but, in the new workplace, where relationships are the new currency, a new hire with a high EQ is a must. What the EQ-i, or Emotional Quotient-Inventory, does for the company is describe the emotional competencies of the potential hire (or existing employees). In an earlier article titled "The 90% Factor," I discussed the fact that roughly 90% of the time, the problems we have to solve are relationship problems, not technical ones. This reality means that relationship skills are at a premium in the new workplace. And now that we can actually, validly and reliably test for these skills, it is imperative that companies hire and grow those individuals who not only know what (the task), but, how (through relationships) to do it.

“KNOW THYSELF” :THE FIRST STEP AND THE FIRST SCALE

Socrates said it over 2,000 years ago: "Know thyself." He said that self-knowledge was the beginning of wisdom. It still is.

When a person takes the EQ-i, from a psychologically scientific point of view, self-knowledge is referred to as the Intrapersonal component, and includes the following five content scales:

INTRAPERSONAL COMPONENT
Emotional Self-Awareness: to know my own feelings
Assertiveness: to express how I think and feel in a constructive manner
Self-Regard: to accept my self as a basically good person, warts and all
Self-Actualization: to be involved in living a full, rich, dynamic life
Independence: to be self-directed in my thinking/actions, free of emotional dependency

Thus, in question #1 (above), if you made a check mark () in the box to the right, you were saying that in a hiring situation, you really want someone who is emotionally self-aware, who brings a good sense of him/herself to the table, and who will not "be a drag," so to speak, in the office.

That's a goal worth attaining. And it can be done now with the EQ-i.

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Categories: personal management

Author Info

Dr. Michael Rock is an adult educator, professor, author and coach. He teaches his "EQ and the New Workplace" at Seneca College, Toronto, and also teaches in the MBA and M.A. in Leadership Programs, University of Guelph, Ontario. He can be reached directly at (905) 477-4859 or rock@internet.look.ca.
Click here for Dr. Michael Rock's Bio Page.



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