Sorry, Einstein! Emotional Intelligence Trumps High IQ In The Workforce

Emotional IntelligenceWhen it comes to hiring intelligent employees, it seems companies prefer people smarts more so than book smarts, a new survey finds.

More than 70 percent of employers way they value emotional intelligence -- the ability to perceive the emotions of others and control one's own -- over workers' intellectual ability or IQ, according to, which commissioned the poll.

The jobs site's survey also found that in this post-recession era that more than a third of employers place greater emphasis on hiring and promoting people who have high emotional intelligence quotients, or EQ.

Further, CareerBuilder found that 61 percent of employers surveyed said they are more likely to promote workers with high emotional intelligence instead of candidates with a high IQ. What's more, 59 percent of hiring managers said they wouldn't hire someone with a high IQ but a low EQ.

"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," Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder, said in a statement accompanying the release of the survey data.

"Technical competency and intelligence are important assets for every worker," Haefner said. "[But] the competitive job market allows employers to look more closely at the intangible qualities that pay dividends down the road."

More detailed responses from the more than 2,600 private-sector hiring managers surveyed by Harris Interactive appear between May 19 to June 8 below:

When asked why emotional intelligence is more important than high IQ, employers said employees with high emotional intelligence (in order of importance):

  • Are more likely to stay calm under pressure
  • Know how to resolve conflict effectively
  • Are empathetic to their team members and react accordingly
  • Lead by example
  • Tend to make more thoughtful business decisions

Human resource managers and hiring managers assess candidates' emotional intelligence by observing a variety of behaviors and qualities. The top responses from the survey were:

  • Admitting and learning from mistakes
  • Keeping emotions in check and having thoughtful discussions on tough issues
  • Listening as much or more than they talk
  • Taking criticism well
  • Showing grace under pressure

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