The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that the average cost of a bad hiring decision can equal 30 percent of the individual’s first-year potential earnings. Your team plays an integral role in defining your company’s culture. So what can you do to make sure the people you bring in to your company contribute positively to your culture, your team, and your future?

Hire for Emotional Intelligence.

Daniel Goleman’s 1995 book, Emotional Intelligence, grew out of “What Makes a Leader,” which was named one of HBR’s ten “must-read” articles, making Goleman’s idea of emotional intelligence “a revolutionary, paradigm-shattering idea.” So emotional intelligence is not a new concept, and it’s often discussed in terms of leadership development – creating better and strong management teams. I believe that emotional intelligence should be a top priority with every new hire, too. There is a strong connection between hiring people who already exhibit a high level of emotional intelligence and overall success.

To be emotionally intelligent is in many ways a prelude to understanding deeper motivation. – Dan Pink

Hire for More than Imminent Need

It’s easy to end up in a place where you’re hiring to fill an unmet need, and of course, you need a certain skillset to meet that need. But the ideal candidate will be able to handle the mechanics of the position while also adding something more. And that something more is a combination of emotional intelligence, mindfulness, and soft skills that create an ideal candidate. Research at Brandeis University revealed that:

  • 90 percent of top performers are also high in emotional intelligence
  • Emotional intelligence accounted for 58 percent of success in jobs – the strongest predictor of success when tested alongside 33 other workplace skills

Emotional intelligence is a set of competencies that are part of the overall skillset required for building successful teams – and it’s one area where you should not compromise when choosing team members. Emotional intelligence is a far more critical skill to long-term success of the employee, team, and culture than are traditional skill sets.

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Take.Action.Now. – Hire with Emotional Intelligence in Mind

  • Ask the right questions – Fast Company offers a list of seven questions to ask
  • Obtain referrals from existing team members
  • Utilize behavior assessments to evaluate candidates
  • Employ people analytics to improve the selection process
  • Request and talk to references

Procedures can be taught. Skills can be gained. But hiring for emotional intelligence will ultimately make the difference in the long-term success of your new hire and the overall success of your entire team.


As the CEO & Founder of East Tenth Group, Michelle leverages 25 years of business and experience as a strategic advisor and executive coach to help drive actionable people solutions and provide practical insights on business strategy to senior leaders. she and her team and are fiercely committed to the development and growth of people and companies because we believe that when people thrive, business thrives.

Learn More About Michelle