Hire Right: IQ and EQ

When you hire a new team member, the right fit is non-negotiable.

Is it a Game of Chance?

We’re all familiar with that candidate who was ideal on paper, aced the interview, and did fine the first three weeks–only to crash and burn. One of the reasons? A lack of emotional intelligence, which can wreak havoc on your practice.

diceWhy do you hire the wrong people? Even the best interview process fails when you or the interview team over-rely on your intuition and “gut feelings.” You may also be tempted to select solely based on general intelligence or technical competencies. But you must take emotional intelligence into consideration, too.

Research shows that no more than 25% of one’s overall success at work is attributable to general intelligence–also known as the intelligence quotient, or IQ. A good portion of that remaining 75% is related to emotional intelligence–also known as the emotional quotient, or EQ. So when you select for technical competence AND emotional intelligence, the odds are in your favor that you will hire a winner.

The Difference between IQ and EQ

IQ predicts analytic reasoning, verbal skills, and spatial ability. Though it gives you some idea of general intelligence, it certainly doesn’t tell you how well a person will do under pressure, nor is it the best predictor of work success.

EQ measures a person’s capacity for recognizing his or her own feelings and the feelings of others, and for managing his or her reactions in response to those feelings. People with high EQ choose their responses carefully, even when they are highly emotionally aroused. They preserve their own dignity and their relationships with others.

The Emotional Intelligence Interview

When hiring for emotional intelligence, ask behavior-based questions that prompt the interviewee to talk about real experiences in the past. Don’t ask future-based “what if” questions that have an obvious right answer.

Ask Behavior-Based Questions

Learn about past behavior, because it helps to predict future behavior.

For example, to learn about the person’s self-awareness, you could ask, “Describe a time when you were in a good mood at work. How did that affect your performance?” Then tack on a question that tests other-awareness: “What impact did it have on your boss and colleagues?”

To query all of the EQ skills (self-awareness, other-awareness, self-management, and relationship management), ask something like, “Tell me when you were most frustrated in your efforts to deal with a conflict with a coworker. How did you handle it? What was the other person’s response? What was the outcome?”

Conduct Behavior-Based Exercises

Role-play, presentations, and mock meetings are exercises you can use to see what the candidate will do in a scenario he or she will commonly face at work. Be sure to determine the “best” answer BEFORE the process begins.

For example, you could have each candidate for office manager conduct a mock team meeting where the person presents a policy change. Have two of the team members talk amongst themselves, one disengage completely, and one try to take over the meeting.

Red flags to look for during these tests of people skills are:

  • Criticizing or blaming others
  • Poor impulse control
  • Signs of disrespect and judgment
  • Inability to neutralize toxic people or set boundaries
  • A puny emotional vocabulary (e.g., can’t distinguish “bad” from “anxious” or “angry”)
  • Impatience with feelings

Remember: You want team members who are book smart and have heart. Emotionally intelligent teams work together well to accomplish organizational goals. And an emotionally healthy and happy team equates to a more pleasant work environment for everyone!

Suggested Reading


This article is adapted from content in Shawn McVey’s presentation titled, “Hiring for Emotional Intelligence.” Schedule Shawn today to give this presentation to your group or team! Contact Cindy Oliphant at 888-759-7191 or by email.

Building Trust at Work with Appropriate Self-Disclosure

You don’t want to be known for TMI, but you also don’t want people to think of you as a tough cookie!

Have you ever felt uncomfortable when a co-worker over-shared about his personal life at work? Or have you worked with a tough cookie–a person who is hard to get to know because she refuses to open up or tell you anything about herself? Knowing when to self-disclose is an important skill because it builds strong communication and relationships at work

To build competency in self-disclosure, you need to:

  1. Understand the different sides of self-disclosure, and
  2. Identify when self-disclosure is appropriate (and when it isn’t).

Different Sides of Self-Disclosure

People who are skilled at self-disclosure are able to communicate openly and authentically in appropriate ways. They do not conceal or distort inner feelings, thoughts, or perceptions. They tend to be influential at work, because the right amount of self-disclosure benefits personal relationships. They build trust and engender cooperation.

Over-Sharing Looks Like This

People who lack self-disclosure skills tend to share too much or share too quickly, or both–to the point of making people feel uncomfortable. Here are the behaviors to avoid:

  • Telling your boss your insecurities disclosureat the moment you are feeling ignored or rejected by her; when you are feeling anxious, it’s not a good time to share.
  • Sharing unnecessary details about your finances.
  • Blabbing about information that isn’t yours to blab about, such as your partner’s or your children’s idiosyncrasies.
  • Personal information that involves private body parts, a.k.a. “locker room talk,” such as the unique places you are pierced or tattooed. No one at work needs to know this stuff. No exceptions.

Excessive self-disclosure can harm your relationships and your reputation. You can hurt the feelings or reputations of others. You can make people feel uncomfortable, possibly to the point of them reporting you for sexual harassment.

Under-Sharing Looks Like This

People who don’t disclose at all, on the other hand, keep to themselves all of the time. They like to keep work and personal relationships separate to the point where they are unable to foster good working relationships. In fact, they don’t get to know and build trust with others at all.

When to Self-Disclose

People on both ends of the self-disclosure spectrum are frustrated by the lack of positive results based on what, to them, seems like appropriate behavior. The good news–you can build self-disclosure competencies, and everyone benefits when you do!

The best way to build skills is to practice. We gave you some examples about WHAT not to disclose at work. Given the fact that you do want to build trust and cooperation at work, there are times when it’s appropriate to share information about yourself. But you also have to determine WHEN it is okay to disclose. Here is a list of tips:

  • Make sure it is reciprocal. If you are disclosing personal information at a rate and level that the other person is not mirroring, slow down. You are likely making that person uncomfortable.
  • Increase the amount of information you disclose in relatively small increments over time, as you get to know the other person and the relationship develops. Don’t rush in and unburden yourself to people you barely know. Use a professional counselor or therapist for that. Don’t expect your co-workers to oblige your need to bare your soul.
  • Be aware of your timing. Don’t share at inopportune or insensitive times, such as when the other person is busy with work or preoccupied with their own personal issues.
  • Make sure the risk you are taking by disclosing is reasonable. If someone repeats what you say, and it could cost you your job or reputation, find another, safer outlet.

For more information on how building competencies in appropriate self-disclosure can benefit you as a veterinary professional, invite Shawn McVey to speak to your team. The presentation is called “Bring Your Whole Self to Work: Lessons from the Johari Window,” and you can find a description of it and Shawn’s other presentations in his catalog here.

Take Cover! The Boss Is Coming, and She’s in a Bad Mood!

Ever witness the devastation that you leave in your path when you’re in a bad mood? Great leaders are emotionally aware, of themselves and others. When we try to define “great leaders,” we think of strategy, vision, and powerful ideas.

But the reality is PRIMAL: Great leadership works through emotions. Whatever a leader does, her success is linked to HOW she does it. It’s important to realize how influential emotions are on our ability to lead and the relationships we create with others.

 Mood Soup, Anyone?

Moods at work are like the ingredients in a soup. Each person contributes his/her own flavor, but the spiciest one is the leader. Why? EVERYONE watches the boss! The leader talks more. The leader is first to speak on a subject. Others’ comments often “parrot” or affirm the leader’s comments. When others in a group raise a question, the rest of the group looks to leader for a reaction.

Not all emotions spread the same way. Cheerfulness and warmth are the best (easiest to spread). Irritability is less contagious. Depression hardly spreads at all.

Of ALL emotional signals, smiles are the most contagious. We literally get emotionally hijacked by laughter. In a neurological sense, it is the shortest distance between two people’s brains. Most work-related laughter has nothing to do with jokes or pranks; it’s a response to friendly interaction.

Both good and bad moods perpetuate themselves and skew the employees’ perception of the emotional climate of work.

Emotional Hijacking

angryEver had a sour relationship with a boss or mentor, where the emotions involved disrupted your sleep or eating habits? Negative emotions are the worst: chronic anger, anxiety, and a sense of futility. The most frequent cause of negative emotions at work is the relationship with the boss! (90% according to one Yale study).

The percentage of time people feel positive emotions at work turns out to be one of the strongest predictors of work satisfaction. It directly correlates to attrition and retention. Put simply, leaders who spread bad moods are bad for business. Common sense holds that upbeat employees are more productive.

For every 1% improvement in the service climate, there is a 2 % increase in revenue!

Overall, the climate, or how people feel about working at a company, can account for 20% to 30% of business performance. What drives climate? 50% to 70% of how employees perceive their organization’s climate can be traced to the actions of one person: the leader.

The discordant leader produces groups that feel emotionally discordant. People have a sense of being continuously off key. The emotional toll of dissonance is toxicity. Toxicity results in emotional hijacking.

When hijacked, people’s flight-or-fight response is triggered, and they tune out or stonewall. Leaders do not usually intend to create dissonance, but they may lack the emotional intelligence skills required to change. The most important of these competencies is empathy.

Intellect gets you in the door, but EMOTIONS ARE MORE POWERFUL THAN INTELLECT.

 The Four Domains of Emotional Intelligence

There are four main domains of emotional intelligence: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.

Self-awareness: Can I accurately identify my own emotions and tendencies as they happen? The competencies are emotional self-awareness, accurate self-assessment, and self-confidence.

Self-management: Can I manage my emotions and behavior to a positive outcome? The competencies are self-control, transparency, adaptability, achievement orientation, initiative, and optimism.

Social awareness: Can I accurately identify your emotions and tendencies as I interact with you? The competencies are empathy, organizational awareness, and service orientation.

Relationship management: Can I manage my interactions with others constructively and to a positive outcome? The competencies are inspiration, influence, developing others, being a change catalyst, conflict management, and teamwork and collaboration.

The research shows that the four domains of emotional intelligence are closely intertwined and build on one another. A leader cannot manage his emotions if he has little or no awareness of them. If his emotions are out of control, his relationships suffer. Self-awareness facilitates empathy and self-management, and these two, in combination, allow for effective relationship management.

An Unbiased Assessment

Research shows that leaders can improve and DO improve their emotional-intelligence skills, if they are willing.

For an unbiased appraisal of your emotional intelligence strengths and weaknesses, we recommend completing this online assessment created by TalentSmart. It takes approximately 10 minutes to complete, and you immediately receive a report that details your emotional-intelligence strengths and maps out your growth opportunities.