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Emotional Intelligence: The key to more effective recruitment?

Emotional Intelligence: The key to more effective recruitment?

Did you know that recent figures suggest that the cost of replacing an employee starts at 30% of salary, rising to 200% for your top performers? What’s more, a fifth of workers in the UK are estimated to be at high risk of leaving their jobs during 2024.

When we then take into account the ongoing learning and development costs to develop the talent we hire, it’s little wonder that so many organisations are now reevaluating their long-standing approaches to recruitment.

Traditionally, the hiring process has focused heavily on skills, knowledge, and qualifications. However, those entrusted with hiring new talent are increasingly looking for ways to identify individuals who will not only be a good fit for the company culture but are also likely to have the self-awareness to navigate the challenges of working life, leading to job satisfaction and lower sickness levels.

The key to all this is Emotional Intelligence.


What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is the ability to not only recognise, understand, manage, and effectively express our own emotions, but also to recognise, understand and influence the emotions of others. It helps us manage our social interactions, communicate effectively, build and maintain relationships, and cope with the demands and pressures of everyday life.


What are the positives from hiring individuals with high EI?

As individuals with high EI tend to have better self-awareness, self-regulation, and interpersonal skills, this can lead to higher job satisfaction and, crucially for an employer, lower turnover rates. High EI people are also likely to be better equipped to manage stress and maintain a healthy work-life balance, resulting in lower absenteeism and higher productivity.

Some eye-catching recent stats indicate that “75% of careers derail for reasons relating to emotional competencies” and “90% of top performers are also high in emotional intelligence”.


How do you recruit for EI?

For some first-hand insight we posed that question to our SmartPA founder, Sarra Bejaoui:

“At SmartPA, finding candidates with strong Emotional Intelligence and a close cultural fit is absolutely fundamental to our recruitment process. After all, we’re not just looking to hire people who’ll transform our business; as trusted outsourcing partners and consultants we need our people to make a similar impact on our clients’ businesses.

To help us maintain this focus throughout the recruitment process we’ve created an invaluable internal checklist that lists a series of answers to three key questions:

  • What does it take to be a SmartPA?
  • How do you recognise a SmartPA?
  • What makes SmartPAs the best?

These answers, while including the relevant skills and experience that we look for, are full of attitudes and behaviours, helping us home in on a candidate’s Emotional Intelligence at all stages of the recruitment cycle. And, as discussed in this article, we also place our Vision, Mission and Value Proposition front and centre during recruitments. These statements give an invaluable framework for our people and our brand and sharing these statements with our prospective SmartPAs at the outset brings rich rewards, with successful candidates quickly finding a shared sense of ownership and buying into our values and common purpose.


Advantages of identifying high EI when hiring

Here’s a quick roundup of some of the key benefits that organisations can accrue through hiring for high EI:

  • Enhanced team dynamics: 

    Higher EI employees tend to foster trust, empathy, and collaboration. Because they can understand and navigate the emotions of their colleagues effectively, this can lead to stronger relationships and improved teamwork.

  • Higher leadership potential: 

    Individuals with high EI are more likely to develop into leaders who can inspire, motivate, and empathise with their teams, while also being better equipped to handle challenges, communicate effectively and, ultimately, drive organisational success.

  • Better customer relations: 

    People with high EI can build stronger rapport with clients, developing personalised experiences that lead to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.

  • Effective conflict resolution:

    Individuals with strong EI are likely to be better equipped to handle conflicts and disagreements constructively as they tend to have natural empathy and remain calm under pressure.

  • Adaptable and resilient: 

    As employees with high EI are more adaptable and resilient in the face of challenges and setbacks, they’re likely to help their organisation remain agile and responsive as market conditions change.

  • Reduced turnover and sickness: 

    A key advantage of hiring individuals with high EI is that they tend to have better self-awareness, self-regulation, and interpersonal skills, which leads to higher job satisfaction. They are also better equipped to manage stress and maintain a healthy work-life balance, resulting in lower absenteeism, higher productivity, and reduced turnover.

  • Innovation and Creativity: 

    Because EI is linked to creativity and innovation, people with strong EI are more open to new ideas, perspectives, and feedback, which can drive a culture of innovation and continuous improvement.


About SmartPA

SmartPA is a pioneer of remote, outsourced admin and business support, providing individual SmartPAs, multi-skilled cross-functional teams, and full lift and drop admin process outsourcing. Working with more than 5,000 businesses of all sizes world-wide, SmartPA draws on a global talent pool of accredited SmartPAs, with a Centre of Excellence based in the UK, near shore hubs in South Africa and Uganda, and an offshore hub in Malaysia.


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