Many employers or recruiters consider emotional intelligence as a key skill the perfect candidate should have. Hence, candidates are expected to show great interpersonal skills during the recruitment process. However, still, a lot of emotionally intelligent candidates don´t make it even through the first stages of the recruitment process. So, what is going wrong here? Why do we want to hire candidates with strong interpersonal skills but fail to make many recruitment processes the tiniest bit emotionally intelligent?
Think about the popular applicant tracking systems (ATS) that are often used in the first stages of selection processes where computer systems do the first screening of applications and only the ones filtered out by the system are actually making it into the process. Those systems might be able to check whether a candidate has certain points mentioned in their resume, however, they will never be able to check whether a candidate is emotionally intelligent. And this is exactly where it goes wrong, these hiring systems are built with the objectives of efficiency and speed in mind so that companies can track their metrics such as “time-to-fill”. However, if you prioritize speed over quality, how valuable will these hires actually be? Also, participating in a recruitment process is usually a stressful experience already meaning that it´s extra challenging to show your strong interpersonal skills during interviews. Therefore, as an employer, think about not making the process very inhuman to make it even more stressful for the candidates. If you want to hire emotionally intelligent people, your selection process should show the same level of people skills as what you are looking for.
So, how can you make your hiring process more emotionally intelligent to find the right candidate?
Actually, it´s not that complicated: what candidates want most is knowing what to expect from the process and to be treated with respect during the whole process. Hence, here are three ways you can make your selection process more emotionally intelligent:
- Set guidelines that show you´re emotionally intelligent
There is nothing worse than applying for a job and never hearing back after sending your resume or after having had an interview. Also, it´s quite disrespectful if you think about it! So, you need to let the candidates know what to expect. Will it take 3 weeks before they hear back from you? Fine, you don´t have to try to speed that up, just let them know beforehand to manage their expectations. It can be as simple as adding a message on your careers website with an overview of the recruitment process, all steps and timelines. Also, play with your job descriptions. We have emphasized the importance of good job descriptions on this blog before but by providing a real job description (including deliverables, the negatives, the real experience of what it is to have this job) you not only manage expectations but you also get more of the right type of candidates for this job.
- Train interviewers & align between them
Another annoying point for many applicants is an interview process where the interviewers seem to be a random bunch of employees who definitely didn´t talk to each other. Having to answer the same questions about your availability to travel or about a gap in your resume, three times in a row can get quite annoying and definitely doesn´t show an emotionally intelligent recruitment process. Therefore, don´t just train your interviewers to make sure they will ask the right questions but also set-up the right process so that info is shared between interviewers and throughout the selection process.
- Make it a two-way process
Treat your interviews as a two-way process instead of the one-way street many hiring managers seem to consider it. Don´t just bombard the candidate with questions without any room for their questions or topics they would like to discuss. Actually, it´s just about putting yourself in the candidate´s shoes and treat the candidate the way you would like to be treated if you apply for a job. This can range from respecting their time, blocking sufficient time for their questions and providing them with all the details of the interviews well in advance.
What do you do to make sure your recruitment process is as emotionally intelligent as you want your candidates to be?