How to Hire Employees with Emotional Intelligence and Why it Matters

What do you look for in a new employee for your water damage restoration company? Many business owners hope to find hard workers they can trust to support their vision for their company, while some will settle for someone who just shows up each day.

For most business owners, however, the emotional intelligence of their next hire rarely crosses their mind. If you believe your next employee’s certifications matter more than their self-awareness and ability to practice empathy, you may be missing the chance to add valuable members to your team.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

To put it simply, emotional intelligence is a person’s ability to be aware of their own emotions and the emotions of those around them. Someone with emotional intelligence doesn’t just notice and understand emotions, they also manage emotions well.

This means, someone with emotional intelligence will sense their own frustration and adjust their actions or environment appropriately in response to what they have perceived. Being able to help others do the same is another indicator of emotional intelligence.

Why Emotional Intelligence Matters in the Workplace

Many employers are making the same mistakes when it comes to finding their next team member, according to Harvard Business Review. Instead of seeing an interviewee as a whole person, they become laser focused on the bullet points on their resume.

The emotional intelligence of your next employee matters, because you need more from an employee than restoration skills. Think about what you employees do each day. Yes, they perform water extraction and mold remediation, but their jobs involve so much more. They are interacting with other teams members and with customers. Emotional intelligence is the key to making these interactions beneficial for everyone involved.

For example, if an employee answers the phone and is able to quickly notice that the person on the other end is distressed, they can adjust their tone and language appropriately, responding with understanding and compassion.

Of course, it goes beyond employee-customer interaction, too. Emotional intelligence also matters within the workplace. This is especially true if you hope to hire someone who will lead well, now or in the future. Too many leaders don’t understand how to relate with their staff or how to motivate their employees, and this can create a hostile culture in a company. Emotional intelligence gives a person a unique advantage when interacting with others, whether its an upset customer or a new employee who is learning the ropes.

How to Hire for Emotional Intelligence

So how can you be certain if an interviewee is an emotionally intelligent person? The truth is, you can’t really be certain until you get to know them, but asking the right questions can help you gauge what skills they possess and which skills may need some fine tuning. The right question could also bring up red flags, indications that this person is not the right fit for your company.

Of course, coming right out and asking an interviewee about their self-awareness or how empathetic they are probably won’t work. They’re going to tell you exactly what you want to hear! Instead, research has proven that behavior-event interview questions are the most effective indicator of emotional intelligence.

A behavior-event interview question asks for a specific example of how the interviewee responded to a specific situation at their previous job. If past performance is the best indicator of how an employee will perform in the future, you want to know how their emotional intelligence has been tested in the past.

Example behavior-event interview questions could include:

  • Can you tell me about a time you experienced a stressful situation at your last job and how you coped?
  • Can you describe a time when you tried a new task and failed?
  • Tell me about an experience with an upset customer and how you responded.

You can probably see how an open ended question that requires a response describing a specific experience can give a good picture of how someone manages their emotions and the emotions of coworkers and customers.

Hiring for emotional intelligence goes beyond asking the right questions, according to Harvard Business Review. They suggest hiring managers use references to get an accurate picture of a interviewee’s self-awareness, management of emotions and response in tough situations. When calling your interviewee’s references, use behavior-event questions to learn more about their emotional intelligence and how it played out in the workplace. This means, skipping checking references is never an option for business owners who want to hire a talented team of water damage restoration specialists.

Of course, we all want to hire employees who are skilled workers and have a thorough understanding of the water damage restoration industry. We’re not suggesting you ignore these qualities in a candidate and focus solely on emotional intelligence. We’re merely saying that more hiring decisions need to be made with an understanding of the whole person, that employers need to look beyond the resume and make the effort to better understand the other skills a candidate is bringing to the table.

At More Floods, we provide resources to water damage restoration business owners that aid them in hiring and training new employees. To learn more about the benefits of joining the More Floods network, click here or call 1-866-667-3356.

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