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Emotional intelligence and how to hire people with high EQ

Recruitment | 8 Min Read

Emotional intelligence: Hiring people with high EQ


Emotional intelligence (EI) or emotional quotient (EQ) is the ability to perceive, comprehend and control one’s emotions and respect others’ emotions. Emotionally intelligent professionals handle interpersonal relationships empathetically and form them comfortably in order to carry out organizational tasks. This blog elaborates on why emotional intelligence is needed more than ever at work, the right approach to hiring people with high EQ, and tools to assess suitable candidates.


Why is emotional intelligence essential in the workplace?

While recruiters focus on technical knowledge and academic intelligence during hiring, behavioral competencies such as emotional intelligence are equally important to assess the right fit. An employee’s high EQ makes them self-aware, empathetic, and composed. They become better team players, better at handling conflict, and better leaders.

For this reason, a high EQ is an indicator of top-performing employees. According to a survey by TalentSmart, 90% of the top performers are high in emotional intelligence.


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Advantages of emotional intelligence


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Enhances workforce efficiency

Empathetic people who understand others’ emotions make better decisions and accomplish tasks efficiently. Furthermore, a workforce of emotionally intelligent employees helps reduce stress and boost morale.

Fosters collaboration

Comprehending one’s feelings and those of their team members is essential for effective communication. Emotionally intelligent leaders and managers know how to manage their emotions and behavior at work, creating a safe environment to exchange ideas and feedback, ensuring productive teamwork and performance, and boosting employee engagement and job satisfaction.

Ensures client satisfaction

People with high emotional intelligence can communicate with clients effectively by patiently handling sensitive situations. Such qualities are vital for successful and sustainable cross-team collaborations, internal communication, and stakeholder management.

Improves business performance

High EQ is linked with efficient problem-solving. Therefore, emotionally intelligent professionals:

  • Nurture a high-performance culture
  • Spot business issues ahead of time
  • Enable smoother operations
  • Adapt to shifting business needs


Nurtures a culture of constructive feedback

Regular feedback on employees’ performance helps businesses become successful industry leaders. The best method to provide feedback is by paying attention to the employees’ work and achievements. Employees may easily remember comments when team leaders or managers acknowledge how they operate and positively react in challenging situations. The feedback-giver must be emotionally intelligent to ensure constructive feedback is accepted positively.

Encourages productive work meetings

An engaging and productive meeting is the outcome of high EQ. Healthy discussions happen when everyone pays attention to one another, celebrates good ideas and refrains from interrupting meetings and collaborative sessions.


How to hire individuals with high emotional intelligence?

One way of assessing a candidate’s EQ is by incorporating behavioral indicators in interview questions. This includes asking questions about feedback received, conflicts with colleagues or leaders and the perception towards change.

The interviewer must also ask relevant follow-up questions. The answers received will provide insights into how self-aware the candidate is of their thoughts and emotions.

Another simple way to assess EQ is through assessments. These sophisticated tests aim to determine a candidate’s emotional intelligence level and whether they can recognize, understand, manage, and control their emotions and reactions.

An excellent example of EQ assessment is Mercer | Mettl’s EQ Test, which allows organizations to evaluate a candidate’s emotional and social skills. Apart from assessing a candidate’s emotional intelligence, it also aims to identify key improvement areas for personal development.


How can Mercer | Mettl help: Tools to measure emotional intelligence

Various comprehensive psychometric tests are available from Mercer | Mettl to gauge a person’s behavior, aptitude, intelligence and personality. These tests help match a person’s skills to a suitable vocation for career counseling and employment.

1. Mercer | Mettl’s Personality Inventory (MPI) is an innovative, evidence-based assessment. It measures relevant personality traits required for vital work and helps predict behavioral competencies. MPI is designed to help employers gain access to objective information about a job applicant or an employee, which is critical in influencing their behavior at work

2. Mercer | Mettl’s Critical Thinking Assessment measures a candidate’s capacity to think critically, solve problems and make decisions. It enables organizations to choose people who can identify problems at work and effectively address them through critical information analysis. It assesses the following competencies:

  • Critical thinking with the help of questions for assessing the candidate’s assumptions, arguments, and ability to conclude.
  • The candidate’s verbal ability to express thoughts clearly.
  • The candidate’s ability to analyze data.

3. Mercer | Mettl Test for logical reasoning evaluates a candidate’s ability to draw appropriate conclusions while considering multiple factors. Employees with logical reasoning abilities base their decisions on facts and information, producing impartial findings. This assessment analyzes a candidate’s capacity to recognize the collection of pertinent data.

4. Mercer | Mettl Emotional Intelligence Assessment evaluates a person’s emotional intelligence and how it can affect relations and workplaces. It aims to identify key improvement areas for personal development and focus on those strengths that one can leverage to the full potential at work.

Also, explore: Tests for evaluating emotional intelligence



There are several traits to seek when hiring exemplary employees, and testing for emotional intelligence help predict a person’s success at work.

Understanding the various branches of emotional intelligence and vital EQ indicators and adopting holistic tools when hiring for emotional intelligence is integral to building sustainable and prosperous workforces.



Why is the emotional intelligence test used for recruiting and training?

How to improve emotional intelligence at work?

Do employers look at EQ?

Originally published October 27 2022, Updated July 5 2023

Written by

Vaishali has been working as a content creator at Mercer | Mettl since 2022. Her deep understanding and hands-on experience in curating content for education and B2B companies help her find innovative solutions for key business content requirements. She uses her expertise, creative writing style, and industry knowledge to improve brand communications.

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