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Hire for Emotional Intelligence

October 13th, 2017

Emotional intelligence (or EQ) has taken on a growing weight during hiring decisions over the last few decades, and the growth of its measured value shows no signs of slowing down. Years ago, EQ was often considered a fringe benefit or tie breaker after other factors (like work ethic and industry-related knowledge) had already been worked into the equation. But at this point, wise hiring managers recognize that this is a make-or break metric that can determine the success of failure of a potential new hire.

So how can you recognize the signs of emotional intelligence in an interview setting? Here are few things to look for.

First, just ask.

If you ask your candidate to rate his or her emotional intelligence and give the reasoning behind the answer, you may be met with a blank stare. You may also be met with a candidate who has heard this term but personally dismisses the weight of this metric or seems uninterested in its value to you as a manager. These are red flags. Look instead for the candidate who understands what the term means, seeks to cultivate this quality, and knows how to recognize and value it in himself and others.

Request answers in narrative form.

To accurately assess emotional intelligence—a subjective quality—ask your candidate to “tell you story”. For example: “Tell me a story about a time you faced a serious challenge and had to rely on your team”, or “Tell me about a time when you had to compromise in order to succeed.” The narrative format allows the question to remain open ended and the candidate to answer in his or her own words. Listen carefully and read between the lines to look for signs of communication skill, listening skill, empathy, and life experience.

Can your candidate read your cues while staying true to her own personality?

You don’t want candidates who will change their answers, feelings, stories, personalities and interests in order to present you with what they think you want to see. But you DO want candidates who understand subtlety and recognize the intention behind your questions and statements. Look for a balance; your ideal candidate will understand your words, take them at face value, and present her own answers with honesty and confidence.

Assess teamwork and leadership skill.

Even if the position in question won’t involve any official leadership and won’t entail a heavy component of teamwork, these two qualities can reveal volumes about a candidate’s emotional intelligence. Determine how she typically approaches leadership and teamwork challenges and assess her growth and current strength in both areas.

For more on how to assess personality and readiness during candidate interviews, turn to the Hartford and Stamford recruiting experts at Merritt.

Is it Okay to Quit Without Giving Two Weeks’ Notice?

March 18th, 2016

You don’t love your current job. Your boss is disrespectful, your paycheck is ridiculous, your workplace culture is toxic, and though there are plenty of available positions above you, you’ve been denied a promotion request twice in a row. As you launch your job search and start receiving offers from potential employers, how carefully should you factor the needs of your current company into your future plans? Specifically, should you walk out when you please, or should you provide two weeks’ notice and serve out your last ten days faithfully?

As the premier staffing and employment team in the Connecticut area, with decades of collective career management experience, we recommend providing two weeks’ notice…always. Regardless of the circumstances giving notice is a standard professional courtesy that costs very little and provides big returns. Here’s why.

Your future employers expect this.

Since this is a standard and widely accepted gesture, your next employers should have no trouble scheduling your start date to accommodate a two-week overlap period. If they balk at this perfectly reasonable request or insist that you start right away, something is wrong. Look closely at the offer and make sure your new employer is professional and legitimate before you make a long-term commitment.

It’s not required, but it’s generous and gracious.

Your integrity and your reputation are among the few things that will stay with you as you move from job to job throughout your career. Whenever possible, when you leave, leave on good terms. Companies often add this final parting note to your records (whatever these records consist of), and your choice to walk out or give notice may mean the difference between a glowing recommendation and a position on a permanent blacklist.

Think about who may suffer or benefit.

When you leave abruptly, your managers must scramble to fill your position and they may be left in a serious lurch. But your managers aren’t the only ones who may suffer; think about the problems you may be creating for your co-workers, your clients, your accounts, your vendors, and anyone else who has to shoulder an extra burden until your replacement is hired. You may meet these people again during your professional life.

It won’t cost much.

In the heat of the moment, you may be so focused on the future and excited about your new job that attending to the old job for ten more days may seem like a drag — or even a waste of your valuable time. But be patient. These last days will fly by faster than you realize, and soon you’ll be on your way to your next goal and the next chapter of your career journey.

For more on how to land a new offer and what to do once that offer is in your inbox, contact the staffing professionals at Merritt.

Identifying Performance Problems in the Workplace

March 14th, 2014

Before you can tackle an employee performance issue and address the necessary coaching, warning, training, or alternative action necessary to solve the problem, you’ll need to be able to answer a few important questions. And your managers will all need to approach these questions from a similar standpoint. First what exactly does excellent performance look like? How about adequate performance? And how would each of your managers define a “serious” performance problem? Here are a few ways to get a handle on performance related obstacles to productivity.

1. Benchmarks should be clear, publically available and universally understood.

During a new employee’s first annual performance review, both parties should agree on the exact definition of success within this role. If possible, these benchmarks should be measurable. Sales quotas, units processed per hour, new clients gained, new customers served daily, accounts closed or new accounts opened annually, and revenue generation can all be included in the factors that determine performance.

2. Intangibles can also be considered, but with caution.

An excellent seller may be difficult to get along with in the workplace, which means higher stress and lower productivity for everyone, despite her strong closures. The reverse is also true–sometimes low sellers are well liked and have a motivational effect on everyone around them. But the question for you is clear: How much do these intangibles really matter? Can you afford to keep a low seller on board because of her strong organizational skills? Can you afford to keep a high seller on the team despite his tendency to serve as a general drain on the company? Before you criticize an employee or threaten termination for performance-related reasons, take these issues into account.

3. Fairness is everything.

Performance assessment should always be numbers-driven, and never bias-driven. Some employees and managers simply get along better than others, but personal feelings should never corrupt an assessment of performance. If they do, excellent assets with great value to the company may be discouraged and driven away. And weaker producers will be kept on board long after they should have been coached toward success or shown to the door. If you sense your assessments could be more balanced and unbiased, you’re probably right.

4. Factor growth into any assessment of employee value.

Which would you rather have on your team: a high performer who never grows and never improves? Or a weaker employee who underwhelmed you during her first year but has made vast, ongoing gains since then? Growth and value are very different metrics, and both should play a role in any calculation of employee merit.

Reach out to the CT staffing and business management experts at Merritt for more on how to approach the review process and provide meaningful feedback for your teams.

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