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Thought Leadership

Why Emotional Intelligence is a Must-Have for Recruiters


Recruiters need to sharpen their emotional intelligence in order to compete in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.


Tuesday, June 13, 2017
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As the Fourth Industrial Revolution takes off, technological advancements are creating a far more powerful and advantageous environment for companies than ever before. Recruiting resources are being created that we couldn't have even imagined five years ago. As a result, recruiters need to shift their attention to focus on advising, strategy and coaching. Why? Because now that automation is a reality, the human touch is even more critical. Recruiters will need to evolve their emotional intelligence to remain relevant and effective. Strengthening relationships with candidates, hiring managers, plus external and internal clients is pivotal to successfully navigating your job -- today, tomorrow and, of course, throughout your career (should you wish to remain in the recruiting profession five to 10 years hence, at any rate).


Automation and AI will replace most of the low-level, intensive deskwork in recruiting. Data can be assessed quickly on resumes. Talent will be automatically funnelled through the pipeline without all the heads typically needed in recruitment. What will be left? For recruiters, it's going to be about working collaboratively with candidates and hiring managers to help their companies create talent pools that are aligned with the company's goals.


Success in any endeavour is based on our ability to forge, grow and maintain relationships, particularly in recruiting, which is (perhaps more than any other profession) centered on human interaction. As automation and machine learning become integrated into work, the value of human labor lies in what humans do best, which boils down to emotional intelligence. At its core, EI is really about honesty. Our ability to be honest with ourselves and others enables us to build trust in our relationships. People with strong EI are especially well equipped to forge positive and meaningful connections.


As a recruiter, possessing a strong EQi (or Emotional Quotient Inventory, a commonly used measure of emotional intelligence) improves your ability to discern the potential in a candidate, deepens your understanding of professional experiences, and helps you determine which candidates will be the best fit for the company. At the same time, it aids your ability to forge stronger relationships with the hiring managers and the departments that are counting on you to help them find the best hires.  


I have no doubt that AI and automation will bring many benefits to the recruiting function. However, the accompanying disruption will require strong interpersonal skills as well as the ability to provide guidance, empathy, strong decision-making and insight. Recruiters with strong EQi will emerge as top performers because they won't be thrown off by the constant shifts in the same manner as colleagues who may have difficulty adapting effectively. Coaching skills, collaboration, reality testing and problem-solving are all critical here. It starts with self-critical self-awareness, which helps recruiters develop and grow personally as well as gather insight into how interactions impact others. The ability to express oneself and be assertive is critical in our fast-paced technological world. People with strong EQi can sense what others are feeling. They can tune into the emotions of others. Further, recruiters with strong stress management abilities don't flinch under pressure. As robots become more central to the workplace and job titles undergo continuous disruption, flexibility, stress tolerance, and optimism will be critical.


As this latest industrial revolution accelerates, we'll expect recruiters to serve as human capital analysts, coaches and facilitators, guiding companies in their reorganizational efforts as well as talent searches. This will require the mindset of the constant learner in order to understand the challenges the oncoming disruption will bring. The ability to problem solve and evaluate what's really happening will be critical in helping managers determine the right strategic solutions. The recruiter can fill the role of the objective voice to help steer companies towards hiring the talent they need and how best to source and develop human capital in both the long- and short-term.


There will be periods of intense readjustment to determine what types of skills are needed to fill various roles. Some roles will be eliminated, others evolved and new positions will be formed. We're transitioning to a world in which humans will work in tandem with technology at a level of integration never experienced before. There will be many kinks to iron out as management determines who and what is needed. Departments will be in constant pivot mode. Recruiters with strong EI will be a pivotal force in supporting this transition, and getting comfortable with marathon levels of change will take great levels of stamina and optimism. Emotionally intelligent recruiters will be able to facilitate much-needed dialogue between teams and talent.


EI aids problem-solving abilities. The stronger our EI, the better we become at making a decision. People with strong EI have the ability to press "pause" and avoid engaging in impulsive behavior. They make wise decisions that tend to be thought out and actively engage in understanding the various perspectives involved in a situation.


Everyone working in the Fourth Industrial Revolution will have to work hard to evolve in the new climate. After all, this revolution (like the ones before it) will involve disruption, uncertainty and displacement. The shift will be one of the biggest since the internet first began making our lives easier. A learning mindset has never been more critical as it is today. So, one final parting thought to ask yourself: How do you plan to move yourself, your teams and your organization forward?


Caroline Stokes is a certified executive coach, executive headhunter and EQi2.0 trainer. She is also the founder of FORWARD, which focuses on serving innovation leaders around the world. Caroline will be presenting a session on recruiters and emotional intelligence at the upcoming 2017 Recruiting Trends and Talent Tech Conference in Palm Beach, Fla. 



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