top of page

Do You Hire For IQ or EQ?

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is becoming an increasingly important quality in the workplace. In a survey of 2,662 hiring managers conducted by CareerBuilder, 71 % of hiring managers in the United States value EQ in an employee more than IQ. 59 % of employers would not hire someone who has a high IQ but low EQ. For workers being considered for a promotion, the high EQ candidate will beat out the high IQ candidate in most cases. 75 % said they are more likely to promote the high EQ worker.

"We're starting to see a growing comfort in talking about (emotional intelligence) or soft skills," said Rosemary Haefner, vice-president of HR at CareerBuilder in Chicago. "Companies are getting more comfortable admitting they're using a more holistic view when making important decisions."

The ability to remain calm under pressure is the top reason why employees with high emotional intelligence are sought after in the workplace, found the survey. "This quality has been especially valuable over the last few years as many companies have been stretching employees and putting even more on their plates," said Haefner.

The ability to resolve conflict effectively is the second most desired trait of people with high EQ, found the survey. "EQ helps with managing emotions so people keep their cool, especially in a team or leadership environment," aid Steven Stein, CEO of MHS (Multi-Health Systems) in Toronto, which publishes the EQi 2.0 Assessments.

When asked why emotional intelligence is more important than high IQ, employers said (in order of importance):

  1. Employees with high EQ are more likely to stay calm under pressure.

  2. Employees know how to resolve conflict effectively.

  3. Employees are empathetic to their team members and react accordingly.

  4. Employees lead by example.

  5. Employees tend to make more thoughtful business decisions

HR managers and hiring managers assess candidate's EQ by asking questions about and observing a variety of behaviors and qualities. The top surveys findings about high EQ candidates were:

  • 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

If you ever been on the side of the desk making a hiring decision, consider the criteria you've counted on when it comes to adding to your team. Emotional Intelligence is not only what employers must look for in candidates, it's also what they themselves must use when choosing who to hire.

Question: How much impact does Emotional Intelligence have in your hiring and promotion decisions?

Many organizations use the EQi 2.0 in their hiring process to reliably assess a candidates Emotional Intelligence. Download sample reports at Learn about EQ training by contacting me by phone or email at 913-229-2491 and


bottom of page