To start with, I’d like for you to think about Emotional Intelligence in recruitment from a position of
humility and modesty.
I have experienced its evolution in the recruitment industry. There is something to be said about
having a high level of self-awareness to understand when you have said or acted in a way that has
undermined another human and corrects it as soon as possible to build a high level of trust and
control in recruitment in a short period of time.
It is the key to great recruitment especially when you are thinking about improving your current
performance or relationships and are trying to understand the motives of others to create the best
most lucrative outcome for your clients and your candidates. Doing it right rather than getting it
done brings repeat business, especially when the market is spoiled for choice.
Recruitment is a demanding career; it’s an emotional toil and it has plenty of lows but the highs are
considerable and fulfilling. In our candidate market, we encounter freethinking, individualism and
even more independence, there are more choices and we restrain ourselves from taking the time to
understand the importance of people’s values in the decision-making process, which I believe to be
the foundation of candidate’s choice to make a career move.
With this article, I want to share four basic steps for building trust and good control with candidate
relationships and help you understand the relationship between recruitment and emotional
intelligence and why we feel it’s helping us shift and shape the foundation of recruitment.
1) Don’t react to the answers of difficult questions being asked right away;
It’s nothing new knowing that your facial expression of judgement is an immediate put off for most
people. In recruitment, we should ask the questions we do not want to necessarily hear the answers
to. We need to create an environment that is conducive for sharing information and in some cases,
private information. Create a trust relationship that encourages the sharing of important deal
braking information. This is private and for the consultant’s ears only, we are professionals after all
aren’t, we. Respond by saying “I understand” or “I hear you” understanding something or saying
“okay” doesn’t necessarily mean you agree; it simply means you are listening and understanding
their point of view. Empathy can be extremely powerful in building trust, control and understanding.
2) Take time to meditate on the feedback being given to you
Seek to understand not respond, by asking more questions it mentally shifts your mind from
automatically sharing your opinion straight to an understanding mode, which allows the candidate
to form a comforting first impression. Good responses or questions to ask is “tell me more” or “I’m
not sure I understand, could you help me understand”. “If someone you are trying to influence
doesn’t trust you, you are not going to get very far, you might even elicit suspicion because you
come across as manipulative. A warm, trustworthy person who is also strong elicits admiration but
only after you have established trust does your strength become a fit rather than a threat” – Harvard
social psychologist Amy Cuddy.
3) Envision the outcome of a different question
A bit like playing chess. How would you feel if the same response or questions was asked of you, and
if the feeling or thought was one you did not like, then envision a different question or approach.
Emotionally intelligent recruiters are inclusive by nature and never stop looking for opportunities to
bring the thoughts and views of others into a discussion.
Look for ways to elevate the candidate when meeting them. Good questions or responses to help
you here are. “What would you like for me to do here”, “what are your thoughts” or “How would
you like to handle this differently”, make sure you have a different perspective.
Showing empathy is a good way to demonstrate that you hear the other person and that you don’t
have any hidden agenda driving your actions. This will elevate your ability to recruit with a high level
of EQ, trust and respect.
4) Replace your thoughts
You feel less threatened by the negative statements you hear in your mind because your emotions
are calmed by your actions, we tend to act upon words that don’t entirely agree with our own reality
and opinions, so its vitally important in the recruitment process to eliminate this type of thinking and
introduce positive thinking that will entice more rational thinking when hearing negative or
unpopular responses to difficult questions.
Things to say here to help you are; “how can I help you move this forward” or “I really appreciate
you telling me that because not many people are as honest with us which makes the process
trouble-free” add the actual impact of their actions. And always remember to say, “thank you”, “I
appreciate your response” or “it sounds like you are doing really well”.
Moving a negative thought to a rational thought will help you move it very quickly to a positive
thought, this will take practice and time, so practice it as much as you can in your daily questioning
and responses. It will elicit a great deal of trust and candidates will feel fare more comfortable and
inclined to inform you about possible changes in their decision-making process and treat you as a
consultant when other deal-breaking opportunities come to light.