Use Emotional Intelligence to Hire Smarter

In order to find the best new talent for your agency, you need to fully understand the candidates you’re interviewing.

And developing deeper, more authentic connections with interviewees means being more relaxed and open to new ideas and perspectives that may differ from your own.

The candidates who walk through your agency’s door have all come from different places and lived their own unique lives. Their experiences have shaped their perspectives, which can deeply impact the ways they do business.

In order to truly connect with the large variety of candidates you may be interviewing, you need to have strong emotional intelligence (EQ).

Those with high EQs tend to be more open to looking at situations and solutions from all angles, rather than having a “my way or the highway” mentality.

But a strong EQ isn’t easy to attain. It requires repeated practice. Hone yours by keeping a few things in mind during interviews:

Broaden your appetite. Don’t look for a single, specific answer to interview questions. There may be multiple right answers to questions that you haven’t considered before.

Create space for recovery. If an interviewee misspeaks or stumbles, remember that they are likely extremely nervous. Everyone makes mistakes. Someone’s behavior during a job interview rarely wholly defines them.

Before delving into the business questions, ask some personal ones to provide ample time for your candidate to relax and show more of their true personality [see sidebar].

Hold your judgment. Prevent yourself from making any snap judgments based on appearance. This is easier said than done, but do your best to let go of preconceived notions that have no factual basis.

Be open to new ways of doing business. You could find some of your most successful new ideas this way! Focus on using an “I never thought of it that way” mentality, which keeps your brain open to learning new things and expanding business tactics.

Lindsey Elias is marketing content manager at Glatfelter Insurance Group.

In Practice

Sara Spangler, manager of talent acquisition and engagement at Glatfelter Insurance Group, notes that establishing a more comfortable rapport with job candidates “produces more genuine responses. I like to ask ‘get to know you better’ questions before moving into more technical ones.”

Spangler then listens closely for responses that reveal whether someone exhibits qualities that fit the company culture, such as optimism, honesty regarding weak spots, and accountability for past errors.

“Candidates with strong levels of EQ are great, too,” Spangler adds. “They often have healthy levels of self-confidence, will pick up on cues and will respond accordingly.” —L.E.