Why Emotional Intelligence is Key to Successful Hiring: Going Beyond Skills and Qualifications

With 20 years of experience in the recruitment industry, I’ve learned that successful hiring goes far beyond simply assessing a candidate’s skills and qualifications. One crucial factor often overlooked in the recruitment process is emotional intelligence (EI). As hiring managers, recognising the importance of EI is essential for identifying candidates who will be a good fit for company culture, contribute to overall success, and promote a healthy work environment.

The Role of Emotional Intelligence in Recruitment


Understanding Company Culture

Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognise, understand, manage our emotions and influence others. This skill plays a vital role in hiring, allowing us to comprehend our company’s culture and values better. We can identify candidates who share these values and thrive in our work environment by being emotionally intelligent. This alignment is vital to creating a cohesive and productive team.

Assessing Soft Skills

While technical skills are undeniably essential, soft skills such as communication, adaptability, and teamwork are necessary for success in most roles. Emotionally intelligent hiring managers can more accurately assess these soft skills during recruitment. By paying attention to a candidate’s emotional cues and communication style, we can better evaluate their ability to collaborate, adapt, and excel in a given role. Recognising these soft skills helps us to make more informed decisions when selecting candidates.

Reducing Turnover and Enhancing Retention

When we hire emotionally intelligent candidates who fit well with our company culture, they are likelier to stay with the organisation for the long term. High employee turnover is costly and disruptive, so investing in EI during recruitment can lead to significant savings and increased stability. Employees who feel a strong connection with their workplace are likelier to remain loyal and committed, reducing the need for constant rehiring and training.

Fostering a Healthy Work Environment

Emotionally intelligent employees are more likely to contribute to a positive work environment, as they can effectively navigate and manage relationships with their colleagues. They are often skilled in conflict resolution and can empathise with others, creating a more harmonious workplace. This results in increased productivity, higher job satisfaction, and improved workplace morale.

Actionable Tips to Enhance Emotional Intelligence in Recruitment

  1. Include EI assessment in the interview process: Incorporate questions and scenarios that evaluate a candidate’s emotional intelligence during the interview. This will help you gauge their ability to understand, manage, and respond to emotions. Consider using behavioural interview questions that prompt candidates to share experiences where they demonstrated EI.
  2. Look for EI in past experiences: When reviewing a candidate’s work history, use examples demonstrating emotional intelligence, such as conflict resolution, teamwork, or adaptability. Look for patterns in their career that indicate their ability to forge strong relationships and navigate complex emotional dynamics.
  3. Provide training and support for hiring managers: Encourage ongoing development of emotional intelligence skills among hiring managers through workshops, seminars, or coaching. Investing in the EI skills of your hiring team will enhance their ability to identify emotionally intelligent candidates.
  4. Promote a culture of emotional intelligence: Make EI a core value in your organisation by emphasising its importance and integrating it into performance reviews and professional development plans. Encourage open communication, empathy, and self-awareness to cultivate a company culture that values EI.
  5. Partner with recruitment agencies that prioritise EI: When working with external recruitment agencies, select those that emphasise the importance of emotional intelligence in their candidate selection process. This will ensure you receive candidates who meet your EI expectations and fit well within your company culture.
  6. Emotional intelligence is a critical component of successful hiring. It enables hiring managers to identify candidates with the necessary skills, qualifications, and emotional aptitude to thrive in their roles and contribute to a positive company culture. By emphasising emotional intelligence more during recruitment, companies can significantly improve employee retention, reduce turnover, and foster a healthy and productive work environment.


Organisations must prioritise EI at every level to harness emotional intelligence’s power in recruitment, from hiring managers to the candidates they bring on board. By integrating emotional intelligence into all aspects of the hiring process and company culture, organisations can lay the groundwork for long-term success and create an environment where employees feel valued, supported, and empowered to reach their full potential.

In today’s competitive job market, it is more important than ever for hiring managers to look beyond technical skills and qualifications when selecting candidates. Embracing the importance of emotional intelligence in the recruitment process will set companies apart from their competitors and ensure that they attract and retain the best talent possible. Remember, when it comes to building a solid and successful team, emotional intelligence truly is the key.

Incorporate emotional intelligence into your recruitment process and promote a healthy and productive work environment. Use the actionable tips discussed in this article to enhance your emotional intelligence skills and make informed hiring decisions.

Emotional Intelligence, Recruitment, Recruitment Agency, Soft Skills, Workplace culture