Emotional Intelligence is a key factor that significantly impacts the likelihood of your securing employment. Emotional Intelligence Quotient or EQ is the sociological term which refers to the cluster of personality traits, social graces, communication, language, personal habits, friendliness, attitudes and optimism that mark a person. It is a gauge of how well a person will “fit” or excel in a particular social structure namely the new potential place of employment.

According to most recruiters, headhunters, human resources hiring professionals there are two primary considerations in the hiring/selection process; i.e., what an employer considers in making an employment decision. These are: (1) a candidate’s technical or hard skills and (2) a candidate’s “fit” that is chemistry, personality. This probably is not a surprise. But what may be a surprise is the impact each has on the hiring decision. Technical skills are only 10-20% of the decision. That means “fit” is a whopping 80-90% of the employment determination.

Given that (coupled with today’s tight job market), an interviewee’s emotional intelligence needs to be honed as they enter the job market, especially for job interviews.

There are four core EQ abilities. These are:

• Self-awareness. This is the ability to recognize your own emotions and understand how they affect your thoughts and behavior; know your strengths and weaknesses; and have self-confidence.
• Self-management. This is the ability to control impulsive feelings and behaviors; manage your emotions in healthy ways; take initiative; follow through on commitments; and adapt to changing circumstances.
• Social awareness. This is the ability to understand the emotions, needs, and concerns of other people; pick up on emotional cues; feel comfortable socially; and recognize the power dynamics in a group or organization.
• Relationship management. This is the ability to develop and maintain good relationships; communicate clearly; inspire and influence others; work well in a team; and manage conflict.
The traits that comprise a person’s EQ are sometimes referred to as soft skills. Soft skills are the non-technical, intangible personality traits that determine your strengths as a leader, listener, negotiator, and conflict mediator.

Soft skills differ from hard skills. Hard skills are part of a person’s Intelligence Quotient or IQ. Soft skills are the particular personality traits that allow an individual to effectively use their hard skills.

EQ is almost impossible to measure. On the other hand, our abilities to memorize and problem-solve, to spell words and do mathematical calculations and the skills that make up our IQ are easily measured by written tests.

However, IQ is usually less important in determining how successful we are than EQ. We all know people who are academically brilliant and yet are socially inept and unsuccessful. What they are missing is emotional intelligence.

Given the importance of EQ in the hiring process, one should take action to improve and enhance. One can boost their EQ by simply understanding the skills that comprise EQ. Here’s an exhaustive list (though not all inclusive) in no particular order, of the skills or attributes that make up one’s EQ:

• Ability to be a team player, lead, participate, unite and work effectively with a team
• Ability to lead, teach, coach, inspire.
• Nonverbal communication skills; body language.
• Strong work ethnic.
• Positive “winning” attitude.
• Ability to accept and learn from criticism and stay positive.
• Time management skills.
• Problem-solving skills.
• Self confidence.
• Flexibility, adaptability.
• Listening skills.
• Critical thinking.
• Conflict resolution.
• Focused, driven.
• Action-oriented.
• Motivation; ability to motivate oneself and others.
• Working well under pressure.
• Negotiation skills.
• Exude confidence.
• Creativity; thinking outside the box.
• Ability to multitask and prioritize.
• Ability to read others, listen to them, observe them.
• Ability to see the big picture.
• Political astuteness.
• Knowing thyself; ability to self assess.

Improving your EQ, means you need to find how to manager your emotions and behaviors. Then you need to learn to manage those behaviors necessary to succeed in a job interview and ultimately in the business environment.

To improve your EQ, self-analysis and the following steps are suggested.

• Reduce stress rapidly and reliably. When under high levels of stress, rational thinking and decision making are more difficult. Learn to manage stress. Be resilience; stay balanced, focused and in-control.
• Connect to your emotions and feel comfortable with them. You need to understand your emotions and connect to them. You can not avoid your emotions. You need to be emotionally aware and manage them.
• Understand and effectively use nonverbal communication. Nonverbal communication sends messages. They show you are listening, that you care. You need to manage your nonverbal messages and to be able to read those from other people.
• Use humor and play to deal with challenges. Humor helps lighten your burdens. Humor helps you take hardships in stride, smooth over differences and promotes relaxation, energy and creativity.
• Resolve conflicts with confidence and self-assurance. Conflict cannot be avoided. So learn to resolve and manage it. Learn to diffuse and forgive.

EQ is an important element of any job search, as well as being an important aspect for managing both our personal and professional lives. Work to understand your EQ and improve/enhance your EQ before you head into your job search and the job interview process.

Jim Yoakum is an accomplished executive leader with over 25 years of diversified (financial services, insurance, manufacturing and governmental) experience in risk management, internal control, regulatory affairs, operations and systems, law, compliance and taxation/accounting. He has many successes achieved in managing the creation of new or changing/evolving functions and managing projects/programs in resolution of significant issues. Jim has strong project/program management skills, using an inherent logical thought process honed by many years of technical training, were germane to these successes. He possesses the ability to manage human resources in a changing environment with passion, creativity, results-orientation and self-motivation. Jim is resilient, acts with decisiveness and to foster/adapt to change and new environments. Most importantly, Jim never wants to stop learning; never to stop helping others. He continues to develop and educate with writing, mentoring and networking.

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