Employers Want Workers Who Keep Emotions in Check

August 18, 2011 (PLANSONSOR.com) – According to a CareerBuilder survey, 71% of employers say they value emotional intelligence (EI) over IQ in employees.  


The survey also shows 34% of hiring managers are placing a greater emphasis on EI when hiring and promoting employees post-recession.  

Fifty-nine percent of employers said they would not hire someone who has a high IQ but low EI. For workers being considered for a promotion, the high EI candidate will beat out the high IQ candidate in most cases, with 75% saying they’re more likely to promote the high EI worker. 

A press release explained that EI is a general assessment of a person’s abilities to control emotions, to sense, understand and react to others’ emotions, and manage relationships.  

 When asked why EI is more important than high IQ, employers said employees with high EI (in order of importance):  

  • Are more likely to stay calm under pressure, 
  • Know how to resolve conflict effectively, 
  • Are empathetic to their team members and react accordingly, 
  • Lead by example, and 
  • Tend to make more thoughtful business decisions. 

HR managers and hiring managers assess their candidates’ and employees’ EI by observing a variety of behaviors and qualities including:  

  • They admit and learn from their mistakes, 
  • They can keep emotions in check and have thoughtful discussions on touch issues, 
  • They listen as much or more than they talk, 
  • They take criticism well, and
  • They show grace under pressure.  


The national survey was conducted May 19 – June 8, 2011, with more than 2,600 hiring managers and human resource professionals responding.