How and Why to Measure Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is becoming more widely recognized as a valuable indicator of job success and performance. Researchers, like those at the EI Consortium, started giving more attention to emotional intelligence in the 1990s, prompting this shift. Reliable methodology to measure emotional intelligence is an important part of implementing EI into the wider hiring process. But how is EI measured, and why is it so important that you incorporate it into your hiring strategy?

Let’s dive in.

What is EI anyways?

Before we delve deeper, here’s a quick refresher on emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence, or EI, is a person’s ability to interpret emotions and use that information productivity. People with high EI are able to identify, manage, and regulate their emotions and the emotions of those around them. They are both self-aware and socially-aware, helping them maintain positive relationships with those around them. EI is an incredible valuable skill, both inside and outside of the workplace, leading to more collaboration and overall success.

Measuring Emotional Intelligence

EI, like other forms of intelligence, is best proven by real-world scenarios. But when hiring, it’s not possible to witness how every candidate interacts with others firsthand. Plus, in order to make the evaluation fair across the board, every interaction would have to be identical… and that’s not feasible either. That’s where modern, sophisticated assessments of emotional intelligence come in.

There are three generally accepted ways to measure EI: self-reporting, other-reporting, and ability testing.

Self-reporting asks candidates to evaluate their own emotional intelligence, similar to a personality test. This methodology is a good way to understand a candidate’s perception of themselves, but this tactic has some limitations. Self-report testing is a solid way to measure innate traits like those found in personality. Self-reporting would make for a solid measure of EI, but only in those who have high emotional intelligence to begin with.

Other-reporting flips the self-reporting script and tasks others with rating the EI of another person. This method, sometimes called observer rating, makes sense at first glance. Who could be better suited to rate how well someone manages their emotions than the people around us? Other-reporting does gather valuable information on how others perceive someone, but that’s not the best way to measure emotional intelligence. After all, to have truly reliable results from other-reporting, all observers would need to have high EI themselves. Otherwise, this methodology can introduce bias into the assessment process.

Finally, we have ability testing. This type of testing is the most reliable form of assessment for technical skills. And since EI is skill-based, it’s best measured with ability testing. At first, it may sound impossible to effectively measure and evaluate how well a person understands emotion. There’s a common misconception that anything tied to emotions or feelings isn’t grounded in logic or science – but that line of thinking couldn’t be further from the truth. If you wanted to evaluate a candidate’s typing skills, you wouldn’t ask them to tell you, nor would you ask their friends or coworkers how fast they type. You’d just have them take a typing test. The same goes for emotional intelligence. A truly strong EI ability test will measure the different key dimensions that highlight the test takers ability to recognize, empathize, and utilize emotion.

To measure emotional intelligence, Criteria developed their own EI assessment, Emotify. Emotify is a game-based assessment that accurately captures a candidate’s ability to identify, understand, and manage emotion of both themselves and others. Emotify is a rigorously validated ability-based measure of emotional intelligence that is both engaging and interactive, simulating some of those real-world scenarios where EI is so critical.

Why EI Matters

So we have good, reliable methods to measure a candidate’s EI. Now let’s talk about why it’s so important to include them in your hiring process. People with high emotional intelligence are more likely to be productive, get promoted, and have high job satisfaction. That’s because your high-EI employees are a driving force for good company-wide. Employees with great emotional intelligence build strong working relationships, reduce team stress, and help motivate others. Their strong interpersonal skills can help them create productive relationships with customers and coworkers alike, improving revenue streams and overall team productivity.

And when you hire people with excellent emotional intelligence, you’re also hiring your next wave of potential managerial staff. That’s because high-EI employees are both more likely to be promoted and well-suited to be managers. Their deep understanding of human emotion helps them to elevate their team and encourage them to meet and exceed goals. They also have a strong grasp of team dynamics and are excellent at resolving conflict. Emotional intelligence is a key leadership skill that can’t be overlooked.

When you measure emotional intelligence during the hiring process, you’re making it easier to find and hire people who can grow with and improve your company at every level.