Why Emotional Intelligence is Key to Startup Hiring

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Why Emotional Intelligence is Key to Startup Hiring

Working at a startup is like being on a roller coaster ride but for 10-12 hours a day.

Sometimes longer.

Stress levels are high and fluctuate on a whim so when a challenge comes up, it’s incredibly important for someone to know when (or not) to have conversations when everything is going on.

Companies looking for an edge in hiring top performers with high emotional intelligence should take note there are some things to consider. And while it’s not the only trait to look for in potential hires, it’s definitely time to emphasize assessing for it in hiring processes.

How Emotional Intelligence Impacts A Workplace

Developing the skill of emotional intelligence is receiving a lot of attention right now—for businesses big and small. For good reason, too.

In business settings, emotions have a powerful impact on our behavior and professional performance. Harnessed the right way, the power of someone’s emotions can be used to positively enhance thought processes and decision making. Other benefits:

  • Teamwork improves
  • Customer service improves
  • Change is embraced
  • Feedback is welcomed
  • Tough situations are handled better
  • People connect and support one another better
  • Deadlines and work objectives are seamlessly carried out
  • People are more self-motivated

As you may recall, we surveyed our Hunt Club clients to find out what they’re looking for in potential hires this year. It turns out that having high emotional intelligence is critically important for our clients, and one of the most desired qualities for professional development.

Adding Emotional Intelligence Assessments Into Your Hiring Process

If you're a founder or someone in a position to make hiring decisions, and you'd like to evaluate whether your potential hires have the emotional intelligence you need for top performance, here are a few things to ask your candidates:

  • Tell me about a workplace conflict you were involved in, either with your peers or someone else in the company. How did you manage that conflict, and were you able to resolve it?
  • Describe the most challenging supervisor you've ever worked with. What was the most difficult thing about that relationship from your perspective, and how did you manage it?
  • What would a previous boss say is the area that you need to work on most? Have you taken steps to improve in this area, and if so, what have you tried to change?
  • Tell me about a day when everything went wrong. How did you handle it?
  • What type of working environment brings out your best performance? Your worst?
  • If business priorities change, describe how you would help your team understand and carry out the shifted goals.

What to Look for in Your New and Existing Employees

Learning to improve emotional intelligence takes time—it isn't a process that happens overnight. An incredible way to develop this skill in a workplace is to create an environment that encourages employees to share perspectives, feedback and collaboration.

Keep in mind some key observations:

  • Pay attention to the language employees use to describe their goals and accomplishments. If they focus on failure, does the comment suggest an awareness of some personal responsibility for the episode, or does he or she simply blame others?
  • When it comes to handling criticism, can the person acknowledge shortcomings and keep things in perspective? Or do they become defensive?
  • Does a person’s body language indicate they listen attentively—or are they distracted?
  • How about their ability to learn? Do your employees take initiative? Are they curious? How about the confidence and a willingness to tackle new and unfamiliar challenges?

As you look to hire and grow employees with high emotional intelligence, the long-term results will be better for your team members, leaders and business performance. If you can find people who understand and embrace the chaos in life, the right people will be by your side to take your business to greater heights.

If you’re looking for the right people to hire with the right startup potential, come check out what we're doing at Hunt Club and see how we can help.

Veronica Feldmeier

Veronica Feldmeier

Running content and communications at Hunt Club. Motivated by ticking things off checklists. When not writing, probably on a mat doing yoga.

Chicago