In this period of instability and change, it is more critical than ever to prioritize candidates who exhibit high emotional intelligence and strong resilience skills.
Although IQ is a permanent fixture to evaluate one’s effectiveness in the workplace, it is emotional intelligence (EQ) that serves as the more accurate KPI. EQ demonstrates an individual’s self-awareness, emotional regulation, social skills, and more. And it is those abilities that make an excellent employee.
Resilience plays a significant role in emotional intelligence, but it is surprisingly scarce. According to the ADP Research Institute, only 16% of workers in the United States (and just 15% globally) are highly resilient.
To identify which candidates possess this coveted skill, you can measure using the Predictive 6 (PR6). The PR6 is an assessment scale that uses six factors — vision, composure, tenacity, reasoning, collaboration, and health — to determine strengths and weaknesses in resilience skills.
You may be dubious of this assessment at first, however, you can trust there is validity to it. In fact, The Science of Psychology supports the PR6, recognizes its neurobiological foundation, and details the research conducted to prove its potency.
Various tools exist to evaluate individuals on the PR6 scale, like the quick test and resources available through hellodriven.com. But you don’t need to put candidates through a full-fledged PR6 test to use the system to your advantage.
By simply learning how to recognize these six traits in candidates, you can better identify top performers for your company. Here’s what you need to know about each factor and how to employ this assessment in recruiting:
The necessary resilience skills for high emotional intelligence can be broken down into two categories: personal competence and social competence. While some of the PR6 factors have an element of both, vision is tightly connected to personal competence.
Vision relates to self-efficacy and goal-setting. Individuals who have strong vision are self-motivated and possess a full scope of what they can achieve.
It’s a critical component of EQ for the workplace because employees can only become high-performing if they’re driven and confident in their ability to get the job done.
However, a 2018 study by Statistic Brain revealed that as much as 38% of Americans never make goals. Furthermore, only 75% of people stick to personal goals after the first week of implementing them.
Basically, only a few candidates know how to accomplish their goals, and even fewer set them to begin with, but it’s your job to detect talent who will add strong vision to the team. The good news is there are a few simple ways to identify vision and you’re probably already assessing a few of them.
To identify candidates with vision, pay attention to:
- What motivates them
- If they took the initiative on projects in their past positions
- What goals they set for themselves in and out of the workplace
- How confident they feel about being able to accomplish those goals
While most people correctly discern that composure connects to emotional regulation, it is necessary to recognize that it also deals with appropriate interpretation.
Emotional regulation refers to one’s ability to stay calm in situations of high stress or hardship. Appropriate interpretation is related to identifying, understanding, and acting on internal prompts and physical signals.
Composure is crucial as a KPI because employees perform better when they can work through their instinctive emotions, maintain a low-panic attitude, and think clearly. Furthermore, both performance and relationships suffer when team members are too reactive to a misguided interpretation bias.
Composure is one of the primary reasons EQ stands out as a better KPI than IQ. A forty-year study by UC of Berkeley observed that EQ was four times more powerful than IQ in predicting who would have the most success in their field. It revealed that individuals with high composure respond to external circumstances in a way that benefits their mental welfare and their work environment.
To measure a candidate’s composure:
- Learn how candidates might respond to receiving bad news
- Find out if stress and worry frequently get in the way of their productivity
- Discover how they interpret neutral statements from an employer, such as “Give me a call when you have a moment. I’d like to talk to you about something.”
You want to look through behavior in the moment because how a candidate responds to the nerves of the hiring process is not necessarily how they would react to ongoing stress at work.
For example, those who are mentally prepared for unexpected turns in the interview might freeze in the face of something going wrong at work. Contrarily, someone who appears shaken by tough interview questions may be rock steady leading their team through obstacles in the office.
The hiring process is a controlled environment where, for the most part, candidates know what to expect. That means different things for different candidates. Ultimately, you need to dig deeper to figure out if they can retain composure during times that they feel out of control.
Many people assume tenacity is the core measure of resilience skills because it relates to perseverance and bouncing back from failures. While it is not the only factor of resilience, it is a significant component to understanding candidates’ emotional intelligence.
In the workplace, employees with low tenacity will panic in response to setbacks. As a result, their performance suffers because such an emotional state slows their pace and challenges their ability to think clearly. This attitude can also negatively impact the whole team, as it makes for a more stressful work environment.
As I discussed in this post on building a nimble team, agile team members who keep their heads on their shoulders in times of crisis are the ones who thrive.
To discover who would be the best assets to an agile team, be sure to ask candidates to tell you about a time they made a mistake, and take note of which parts of the story they emphasize.
- Do they try to justify the mistake?
- Are they emotional when recalling the incident?
- Do they discuss their emotional regulation process and what steps they took to bounce back?
For the most part, it doesn’t matter much what failure they reference so long as you can detect their self-awareness, reflection, and growth that resulted from the incident.
Reasoning relates to higher cognitive characteristics like problem-solving, planning, creativity, and resourcefulness.
It’s this factor of the PR6 that exemplifies why resilience skills are so crucial. When it comes to an emergency or abrupt adjustment in the workplace, employees who are creative problem-solvers are the ones who pull through.
Reasoning also speaks to an individual’s independence. Not everyone needs to have the skill level to find a solution to a team-wide crisis. But every employee should be able to troubleshoot on their own. Employees who try to find an answer themselves before asking for help are more appreciated for not wasting others’ time.
Of course, you can assess reasoning and problem-solving through skills tests, but there are natural ways to lead a candidate to reveal their capacity for reasoning through conversation.
To evaluate candidates’ reasoning skills in an interview:
- Ask them to walk you through a time when they encountered an obstacle at work
- Look at what problem-solving and resourcefulness strategies emerged in their response to a challenge, whether it be as big as a global crisis (like the pandemic), or isolated incidents such as tech issues, or the power going out.
- Change the outcome — offer a hypothetical “what would you do if…”
These discussions help demonstrate the candidate’s application of problem-solving. More than solving a sudoku puzzle or clicking “strongly agree” on a statement about tackling obstacles well, these talking points prove how they think through difficult situations and communicate their thought process.
Of all the PR6 factors, collaboration most strongly correlates to social competence. It reflects secure attachment, support networks, context, and humor.
Each of these components that make up collaboration is critical in the modern workplace. It is necessary for both remote workers and office workers to know how to reach out and interact with co-workers. It is those connections and relationships that secure teamwork, productivity, and employee satisfaction.
Furthermore, those who exhibit high collaboration tend to adapt best to leadership roles. According to research from the emotional intelligence network, Six Seconds, individuals with high EQ are seven times more likely to succeed in leadership positions. In large part, this is because collaboration is key to leaders connecting well with a team.
Collaboration goes beyond interpersonal skills. Plenty of candidates will appear friendly and animated, but you need to figure out their true feeling of how they view themselves in relation to others.
To identify candidates with high collaboration:
- Learn about their opinions of past co-workers and employers
- They may hesitate to be honest with you if they didn’t get along with their team. But if they demonstrate true affection and praise for old colleagues, you’ll see that they invested in those relationships.
- Find out if there’s any ‘type’ of person they struggle to work well with
- This helps you understand how a candidate may categorize other people and why they’re opposed to certain personalities.
- Ask them to tell you a joke
- This shows you if a candidate can loosen up, laugh at themselves, and react with composure when someone says something that throws them off guard
Believe it or not, health is also a critical measure of resilience skills. When we refer to health in this section, we are not referring to individuals with disabilities. Instead, health is a measure of candidates’ habits and choices they have control over.
For one, those with stable physiological health are better equipped to handle higher-level needs. Not eating or sleeping well and not moving enough for the day will limit how well they can think critically and contribute to community building. In this way, those who take care of their health promote their EQ.
Those who have high EQ are more likely to recognize the benefits of taking care of their health. They know what they’re capable of and what they need. Ultimately, they are best at identifying when their wellness needs to become a priority, even if it means falling behind a bit at work.
While it may be inappropriate to ask candidates about their diets or exercise routine, you can ask them:
- How they tend their mind, body, and spirit
- If they agree with the statement “Without my health, I have nothing”
- If there are any scenarios in which they would value work over sleep or vice versa
These approaches keep the focus on work while still offering insight into someone’s health values and routine.
Keep in mind, too, that a candidate’s unhealthy habits shouldn’t disqualify them from the position unless they go against the company’s values. It is one factor of six, and no one can nail every aspect of all six perfectly. The ultimate goal is to measure which strong resilience skills they bring to the table, identify what weak points they may have, and see how that would pair with the rest of the team.