Perhaps you've heard the saying, "hire hard, manage easy." This implies that having a well thought-out hiring strategy can lead to on-boarding employees that best fit your company culture. This saying certainly holds true in today's age, where having a cohesive culture has become essential for a strong business.

Making a good hiring decision starts by creating a highly detailed and specific job description designed to flesh out the best applicants. In general, your job description should include the specific skill set you look for in an employee. For a great web programmer, this may be using JavaScript to code. For a sales representative, this may be previous experience in sales in your industry.

Unfortunately, if employers only stick to the hard skills side of the hiring decision, they are omitting what may be the most important criterion: is this person a good cultural fit for the team?

Could the answer to finding the perfect new team member be hiring based on emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence (EI), a term coined by researchers Peter Salavoy and John Mayar, refers to a person's ability to recognize, understand and manage their emotions, as well as the ability to recognize, understand and influence the emotions of others. Someone with high EI is aware of how their emotions drive their own behaviors and impact others. They are also capable of managing those emotions, both their own and others, even while under intense pressure.

EI plays an important role in everyday life, particularly in a business setting. Individuals with high emotional intelligence work better with others, manage clients more efficiently, and help foster a welcoming and accepting company culture.

Imagine how different your hiring process could be if you looked for applicants with high EI as thoroughly as you do hard skills like experience.

In his book, "What Makes a Leader," Daniel Goleman proposes five main constructs around which to frame Emotional Intelligence: self-awareness, self-regulation, social skills, empathy, and motivation.

If you were to incorporate these into your applicant for potential hires, it might look something like this:


"Tell us about a time that one of your weaknesses had a negative impact on your work team's performance."


"Tell us about a situation in which you became frustrated in a professional setting and you were able to redirect these feelings in a positive manner."

Social Skills

"Describe a situation involving your work team where you were able to manage conflict

within the group to help them move forward."


"Share an actual situation that happened at work that showcases your ability to consider

other people's feelings in your decision making."


"Is there a work-related situation you can tell us about where you put a lot of energy and

effort into an important project that went unnoticed or unrecognized by others?"


Why not be as intentional about developing interview questions around EI constructs as you are about identifying the desired hard skills?

A web programming candidate who can code in JavaScript could get the job done. A web programming candidate who can code in JavaScript and who has high emotional intelligence? They could hit it out of the park.

This leaves us with one final question: are you ready to interview hard so you can manage easy?