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IQ vs EQ: Which is More Important When Hiring?

It's a debate you're likely to have come across in the business world: What's more pivotal for success, cognitive intelligence (IQ) or emotional intelligence (EQ)?

What's the difference?

IQ is a number derived from a standardised intelligence test. It represents abilities including:
  • Knowledge of the world
  • Visual and spatial processing
  • Fluid reasoning
  • Working memory and short-term memory
  • Quantitative reasoning
On the flip side. EQ is a measure of emotional intelligence, referring to a person's ability to perceive, control, evaluate and express emotions. It's centred on:

  • Assessing the feelings of others
  • Identifying and controlling one's emotions
  • Using emotions to facilitate social communication
  • Relating to others

Which is more important?

IQ is traditionally recognised as a key component for academic success. Those with high IQs are more likely to perform well at school and go on to have successful careers. However, experts today have recognised that IQ only forms part of the puzzle when it comes to determining life success. That's where emotional intelligence comes in.

With candidate attraction and wellbeing crucial in today's business world, emotional intelligence has rapidly become a vital requirement, particularly when it comes to hiring future managers and leaders.

How to recognise EQ?

While formal tests to identify emotional intelligence exist, there are other identifiers you can look out for when it comes to recruiting the right people. Forbes outlines five signs of EQ as:
  • Handling criticism well
  • Being open-minded
  • Being a good listener
  • Having candour
  • Apologising when they're wrong
To help employers hire staff with high EQ, Workable suggests the following interview questions:
  • Tell me about a time you faced an ethical dilemma at work. How did you deal with it and what was the result?
  • Tell me about a time someone criticised your work. How did you respond and what did you learn?
  • How would you resolve a dispute between two colleagues?
  • If a customer called to complain that the price of our product/service is too high, how would you handle it?
  • Tell me about a time you had a conflict with your supervisor. How did you resolve it?
There's no doubt that both IQ and EQ play a critical role in influencing career success; however, it doesn't stop there, with physical and mental wellbeing also pivotal. So, rather than focusing on which area may have the most dominant influence on your workplace, it's essential that a more holistic approach to recruitment is taken.