What’s your EQ?
Often, when clients talk to us about finding a candidate who will be a ‘cultural fit’, further questioning reveals they are really looking for an emotionally intelligent individual. But how do you identify EI? There’s no formal test, like the IQ test for intellectual capability and potential. But you can undergo EI evaluations, which will grade your emotional strengths and indicate areas for improvement. This is something that we have all been through at Eton Bridge Partners and found helpful. Like any skill, emotional intelligence can be learned, and refined. (If you need a crash course, the Brookings Institute has a quick primer on how to create “a level of respect and calm for yourself and others”.)
When we evaluate candidates there are some useful lines of inquiry that will help us judge an individual’s EI. We might ask them to describe their leadership style. Or, how do they develop and promote people in their team? Soft references are valuable: we speak to people whom a candidate has worked with in the past. How did they feel when he/she left? What was day to day morale like in their team?
I think it’s fair to say that the finance sector (my specialism) has not traditionally prized emotional intelligence as much as hard numbers, but that is changing. The contemporary, collegiate boardroom increasingly wants a Chief Financial Officer who can influence, can collaborate across the business and get the best from a team that may well be dispersed in time and place.