By: Evangeline Berube, a Branch Manager for Robert Half in Edmonton
This blog post is a summarized response to the questions submitted during our November 29 Webinar with Robert Half: 2018 Administrative Hiring and Compensation Trends. Watch the recording here.
Whether vetting potential candidates for open positions, or helping current employees excel, it’s vital that hiring managers understand the local hiring climate, the salaries that will attract and retain talented workers, and how to cultivate teams with skills that support a collaborative and successful organization.
OfficeTeam, a division of Robert Half, recently released the OfficeTeam 2018 Salary Guide, which is a great place for managers to start, highlighting the most in-demand positions, skills, key attributes and national recruitment trends. OfficeTeam research conducted across Canada reveals local salary insights, and elaborates on the top trends that will affect hiring administrative professionals in 2018.
However, while most hiring managers understand the role of competence and technical ability in the career success of an administrative professional, many do not consider that emotional intelligence, is equally important.
Psychology Today defines emotional intelligence as, “the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others.” Emotional intelligence is a person’s ability to be aware of, control and effectively express emotions. It determines how well you understand what others feel, and then to use that knowledge to everyone’s advantage. Have you ever admired a colleague who’s a pro at dealing with rude people so that they wind up happy and satisfied? That’s emotional intelligence.
So perhaps it’s a little surprising that some employers do not give EQ a second thought. According to an OfficeTeam report, Emotional Intelligence at Work: What it Is and Why You Should Care, 30 per cent of HR managers surveyed say employers don’t emphasize emotional intelligence enough when hiring, and 15 per cent said their companies don’t gauge candidates’ EQ at all.
So, what can managers do to ensure they’re hiring emotionally intelligent workers?
Check references. Reference checks, when done properly, can reveal much about candidates’ EQ. Some questions could include: How do they handle criticism? What are they like under pressure? Do they get along with colleagues and clients?
Ask behavioural questions. Dig deep during interviews with behavioural queries, which do a better job of revealing how candidates have actually reacted during specific situations. Some examples include, Tell me about a time when you had to deliver bad news to the boss, and Who was the most difficult person you’ve ever had to work with?
Pay attention to responses. As candidates answer, note their body language and what’s not said as well as their actual words. Did they answer the question or just deliver a prepared response? Are they overly nervous and fidgety? Do they make excuses or get defensive? How’s their sense of humour? Even answers to technical questions can shed light on their emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence is like mental intelligence. Some people are naturally more gifted than others, but almost everyone can improve with time and practice.
Here are some tips for advancing individual EQ:
Self-awareness. Most people need honest feedback from those around them. An ideal time to help staff become more self-aware is during performance reviews. Workers can start with a self-evaluation, followed by the actual review in which their manager assesses them on the same points. By comparing their own thoughts with their managers,’ employees can see how close or far apart they are from how their supervisor views them.
Motivation. This is the inner drive to achieve goals and overcome obstacles along the way. Good leaders are their staffs’ coach and number-one cheerleader. What’s more, motivation is contagious, and management can help by creating an environment where it’s easily picked up. Much of this is about communication, which means sharing positive feedback and publicly congratulating people on their successes. It also helps if staff have the freedom to innovate and the support to implement new ideas.
Empathy. In a busy office, empathy can sometimes seem like a luxury. However, workplaces are the most high-functioning when employees can see a situation from someone else’s. One good way to boost a team’s empathy is with exercises and case studies. For example, a project debrief could include a recent customer interaction that didn’t go well, followed by a role-play of how the situation could have been better handled.
Good workers have solid technical abilities, but great workers have that plus a high EQ. When managers hire for both skillsets, they are well on their way to building a dream team.
Evangeline Berube is a branch manager for Robert Half, the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm. Robert Half has 325 staffing locations worldwide and offers online job search and management tools at roberthalf.ca.