EQ or IQ: What Do Employers Want?

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What do employers want the most?! Emotional, or intellectual intelligence?! Is one more important than the other?! This article gives you the answer.

There has been much discussion about emotional intelligence (EQ) and its importance in the workplace. The ability to understand your own and other peoples’ emotions is vital to carrying out your job effectively because it allows you to connect with other people on a deeper level and understand their wants, needs and intentions. For this and many other reasons, emotional intelligence is regarded as an essential skill for successful leaders.

See Also: How Important is Emotional Intelligence to Your Career?

Studies have shown that emotional intelligence is much more important than intellectual intelligence. In fact, research proves that people with strong emotional intelligence are more likely to succeed than those with high IQs or relevant experience. This research was carried out by the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) in the U.S. and found that the “causes of executive derailment involve deficiencies in emotional competence”. More specifically, the three main reasons for failure as discussed by Harvey Deutschendorf on Fast Company, are difficulty in handling change, the inability to work well in a team and poor interpersonal relations.

Since these three qualities are found in people with high emotional intelligence, it makes sense employers prefer to hire job applicants who show that they possess a high EQ. The willingness to learn and their ability to form relationships and manage them are valued far more than intellectual competence that focuses merely on work experience and technical skills. Apart from these, there is a range of other qualities that allow people with emotional intelligence to stand out.

When interviewing job candidates, employers look for these qualities in particular:


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Empathy comes naturally to emotionally intelligent people. These individuals can understand human nature and connect with people on an emotional level. They can put themselves in someone else’s shoes and empathise with what they are feeling. Usually, employers look for signs of empathy in an interview by asking about a situation where a co-worker or client was angry with you.

Social Skills

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Emotionally intelligent people have great social skills. These include the ability to make new connections quickly, form and keep existing relationships working, as well as finding common ground with people regardless of their background. A person who has excellent social skills can build rapport and trust quickly with other people and has the respect of their peers.


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Being self-aware is essential for emotionally intelligent people. A high degree of self-awareness shows that a person knows what their strengths and weaknesses are, and they can recognize their emotions. They also understand how their emotions impact other people around them as well as their work performance.


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Self-discipline refers to understanding and managing your emotions. When you can do that, you are able to control your actions and behavior so that you don’t act upon your bad mood or impulse. You think before you act and take many factors into account to avoid hurting other people’s feelings.


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Employers want to hire people who have the motivation to work and the willingness to succeed. If they can’t see that, then they probably won’t ask you to join their team. Since they want to best for the company, they recruit people who are confident, optimistic and ambitious.

See Also: 5 Hobbies That Will Improve Your Intelligence

People with high emotional intelligence are more likely to succeed in their careers. Given that communicating effectively with people is essential to any job, EQ is definitely more important than IQ and employers know this as well.

What do you think? Is EQ more valued than IQ or is it the other way around? Let me know in the comments section below…