Interviewers are increasingly assessing candidates’ emotional intelligence on recruitment processes. Sometimes through written, psychological-based tests; other times, by simply asking particular questions.
But what exactly is emotional intelligence (EI)?
EI is the ability of an individual to understand their own emotions and the emotions of others. In other words, when you have high EI, you are more likely to be able to manage and express your emotions healthily and understand the emotions of those who work with you, enhancing work relationships and performance. It is a valued skill that concerns decision making, high-pressure situations, conflict resolution, constructive criticism… That is, when understanding and reasoning requires more than logic alone.
It is now when the big question arises. Can it be trained?
Research says yes. Although personality play a major role, practice can make perfect. Daniel Goleman is one of the most famous names worldwide when it comes to EI. He postulates a model based on five essential factors that you can work on.
Self-awareness. This is the first step. Pay attention to your feelings throughout the day and notice how they affect your decisions and actions; identify your emotional strengths and weaknesses; be aware that emotions can be fleeting and changing.
Self-regulation. Find techniques that help you deal with stress; try to accept reality as it is and keep a cool mind at difficult situations; give yourself time to think and plan before making decisions.
Motivation. Focus on what you love about your job rather than what you hate; try to maintain a positive, optimistic attitude.
Empathy. Put yourself in the shoes of others (at work and in your personal life); pay attention to your own responses to others.
Social skills. Listen actively and attentively to managers, co-workers and peers; keep an eye out for nonverbal cues; work on your persuasion and influencing skills.
“The interest in emotional intelligence in the workplace stems from the widespread recognition that these abilities—self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills—separate the most successful workers and leaders from the average,” says Goleman. Should you want to develop your emotional intelligence, be sure to check them out.