There’s no doubt that these uncertain economic times have many American employees highly stressed and otherwise emotionally on edge, and that cooler heads must prevail to ensure workplace peace and productivity. With that in mind, it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that a new survey from CareerBuilder shows that 34% of hiring managers say they’re placing greater emphasis on emotional intelligence when hiring and promoting employees post-recession.

In fact, sensitivity greatly trumps smarts, with 71% saying they value EI in an employee more than IQ.

EI — a general assessment of a person's abilities to control emotions, to sense, understand and react to others’ emotions, and manage relationships — is emerging as a not just preferred but a critical characteristic for landing a job and advancing one's career, as 59% of CareerBuilder respondents wouldn’t hire someone who has a high IQ but low EI. Further, 75% say they're more likely to promote a high EI worker over a high IQ one.

“Technical competency and intelligence are important assets for every worker, but when it's down to you and another candidate for a promotion or new job, dynamic interpersonal skills will set you apart,” says Rosemary Haefner, VP of HR at CareerBuilder. “In a recovering economy, employers want people who can effectively make decisions in stressful situations and can empathize with the needs of their colleagues and clients to deliver the best results.”

So, what’s the secret to a high EI? According to the HR managers and hiring managers CareerBuilder polled, pros say high EI individuals:
* Admit and learn from their mistakes.
* Can keep emotions in check and have thoughtful discussions on tough issues.
* Listen as much or more than they talk.
* Take criticism well.
* Show grace under pressure.

How high is your EI? Click here to take a quiz to find out, then share your thoughts in the comments about EI’s importance to a successful workplace.

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