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Survey Results

Survey: Employers Value Emotional Intelligence Over IQ

Heeding the timeless advice of Roxette, a majority of employers are listening their hearts when it comes to hiring, and placing a higher emphasis on candidates’ emotional intelligence than their IQ’s.

That’s according to CareerBuilder’s latest survey, which indicates that 71 percent of employers say they value emotional intelligence over IQ.

What is Emotional Intelligence?
Emotional Intelligence (EI) is a general assessment of a person’s abilities to control emotions, to sense, understand and react to others’ emotions, and manage relationships.

The survey of more than 2600 hiring managers and human resource professionals nationwide reveals that EI is a critical characteristic for landing a job and advancing one’s career. According to the survey:

  • 34 percent of hiring managers said they are placing greater emphasis on emotional intelligence when hiring and promoting employees post-recession
  • 71 percent said they value emotional intelligence in an employee more than IQ
  • 59 percent of employers would not hire someone who has a high IQ but low EI
  • 75 percent are more likely to promote an employee with a high EI over one with a high IQ

Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder, cites today’s competitive job market as a reason employers are focusing more on emotional intelligence when it comes to hiring.

“In a recovering economy, employers want people who can effectively make decisions in stressful situations and can empathize with the needs of their colleagues and clients to deliver the best results,” Haefner says in a statement for the survey’s press release.

Survey participants gave the following reasons for placing a higher value on EI over IQ (in order of importance):

  • Employees [with high EI] are more likely to stay calm under pressure
  • Employees know how to resolve conflict effectively
  • Employees are empathetic to their team members and react accordingly
  • Employees lead by example
  • Employees tend to make more thoughtful business decisions

Looking for Signs: How to Spot a High EI
HR managers and hiring managers assess their candidates’ and employees’ EI by observing a variety of behaviors and qualities. The top qualities they look for, according to the survey, include the following:

  • They admit and learn from their mistakes
  • They can keep emotions in check and have thoughtful discussions on tough issues
  • They listen as much or more than they talk
  • They take criticism well
  • They show grace under pressure

What do you think of these findings? Do you place a higher emphasis on EI than on IQ?

Mary Lorenz

About Mary Lorenz

Mary is a copywriter for CareerBuilder, specializing in B2B marketing and corporate recruiting best practices and social media. In addition to creating copy for corporate advertising and marketing campaigns, she researches and writes about employee attraction, engagement and retention. Whenever possible, she makes references to pop culture. Sometimes, those references are even relevant. A New Orleans native, Mary now lives in Chicago, right down the street from the best sushi place in the city. It's awesome.
5 comments
Barbara Saunders
Barbara Saunders

I don't understand why this discussion is so often set up as a dichotomy. Surely there are people with both low EI and low IQ as well as people with high EI and high IQ. My sense is that there are negative and inaccurate stereotypes floating around about just what high IQ looks like. (Not every blowhard, know-it-all has a high IQ.) I also sense that many workplaces have difficulty with people who express dissent, i.e., original thinkers with or without high IQs.

Barbara Saunders
Barbara Saunders

I don't understand why this discussion is so often set up as a dichotomy. Surely there are people with both low EI and low IQ as well as people with high EI and high IQ. My sense is that there are negative and inaccurate stereotypes floating around about just what high IQ looks like. (Not every blowhard, know-it-all has a high IQ.) I also sense that many workplaces have difficulty with people who express dissent, i.e., original thinkers with or without high IQs.

Mardon Donato
Mardon Donato

I feel that EI is much important than IQ,the heart is where the truth is, regardless of how much you know the heart will decide what the person will beleive and what a person will accept. I learned so much from this topic, Thanks Diane

Mardon Donato
Mardon Donato

I feel that EI is much important than IQ,the heart is where the truth is, regardless of how much you know the heart will decide what the person will beleive and what a person will accept. I learned so much from this topic, Thanks Diane

JoshuaFreedman
JoshuaFreedman

Hi Barbara - our research agrees with you: some parts of emotional intelligence are correlated with some parts of emotional intelligence... but it's not so simple.  It seems that a focus on cognitive data tends to SUPPRESS emotional processing... so despite both capabilities being present, there is a conflict.  Here's more about that: http://www.6seconds.org/2013/04/12/stress-health-emotional-intelligence/

JoshuaFreedman
JoshuaFreedman

Hi Barbara - our research agrees with you: some parts of emotional intelligence are correlated with some parts of emotional intelligence... but it's not so simple.  It seems that a focus on cognitive data tends to SUPPRESS emotional processing... so despite both capabilities being present, there is a conflict.  Here's more about that: http://www.6seconds.org/2013/04/12/stress-health-emotional-intelligence/

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