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Can Being Emotionally Intelligent Help You Be a Better Recruiter?

Yes it can, says a speaker at the upcoming Recruiting Trends & Talent Tech Conference.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017
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Caroline Stokes is big on emotional intelligence, especially when it comes to the workplace. Stokes, a headhunter, executive coach and the founder and CEO of Vancouver-based consultancy Forward, says having a high "EQ" -- emotional intelligence quotient -- will soon be a critical skill in the business world as artificial intelligence and automation take on an ever-greater share of the tasks once performed by humans. People with high EQs are better able to read and react to others' emotional states, which makes them more effective at anticipating and meeting their needs. This quality will be especially important in the realm of recruiting, which is a people-focused profession that serves many "customers" -- hiring managers, candidates, new hires, and executives. A recruiter with high EQ, for example, will be very good at gauging a candidate's reactions to questions and comments during an initial interview and have a better understanding of whether that person is a good fit for the position and the organization. But how do you get there? During her breakout session at this year's Recruiting Trends & Talent Tech Conference, "How Emotional Intelligence Can Make You a Better Recruiter," Stokes will share the results of a new study she's conducting on emotional intelligence and show attendees how they can master it to become a better (and irreplaceable) recruiter. We recently spoke with Stokes to learn more about the importance of emotional intelligence and recruiting.

How can being emotionally intelligent help recruiters in their jobs?

Right now?  It's like quitting smoking; life improves rapidly, enabling you to approach challenges, situations and systems you would have approached in a particular way. Within two years time, you'll become the go-to, trusted talent leader by hiring managers, candidates and your peers. In eight to 10 years, Gen Z -- who are emotionally-intelligent literate -- will be able surpass our abilities, so we need to work on this to be on par with them.

How might a recruiter go about determining whether he or she needs some work in this area?

Everyone needs to work on this area.  It's even more crucial now that AI is making such great inroads into the workplace. "Humanness" is what recruiters will be sought out for, while AI, data systems, automation and bots take over 60 percent to 75 percent of the heavy lifting. If you don't want to adapt, ask yourself what you want to do instead within two to five years.

What do you believe is the hardest part about mastering emotional intelligence?

It requires a willingness to admit that you need to work on it, regardless of who you are.

Recruiters are especially pressed for time these days -- any suggestions for resources they can turn to for helping them get a quick rundown on what EI is and how it applies to the workplace?

The rundown is simple: emotional intelligence is all about the brain. How you interact, manage stress, interpret data, evaluate solutions, communicate with others, handle change, adapt, demonstrate flexibility, show understanding -- are all fuelled by our emotional responses hardwired in our brain. Thankfully, anyone can google neuroplasticity and quickly learn that we are in the golden age of neuroscience and that change is possible. There's so much research on how EI can accelerate success and everyone now knows enhancing one's EI will be a top 10 skill in the workplace by 2020. That's not just the candidates you hire for the organization, but you, too. 

Can you name some business leaders whom you think are role models of emotional intelligence?

Let's flip the question into an assignment for the readers. Here we go: Think about whom you know, in your sphere of influence, who demonstrates admirable emotional intelligence. Then, go along and kick-off this conversation with them:

"Hi colleague, I have a few slightly personal questions and hope you don't mind me asking.

I looked around the organization and I'm trying to determine who has strong emotional intelligence. From my perspective, I see you as an emotional-intelligence role model.

Can you tell me how you developed emotional intelligence and how you see it being important for your career?"

Listen to the answer without judgement.

That's the assignment. Easy, huh?

The 2017 Recruiting Trends & Talent Tech Conference will take place Nov. 28 -- Nov. 30 at the Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach, Fla.


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