Emotional intelligence is essential for customer-facing roles and employers are increasingly seeking candidates who show such skills. This is particularly true for roles that will involve working in a team, which covers the majority of graduate jobs.
Emotional intelligence is all about understanding what might be going through someone else’s head, without them having to explain it to you. This skill enables you to second-guess other people’s reactions, and will help you build constructive relationships. It is very much linked up with communication skills. However, it is also important for leadership and teamwork.
Graduate employers looking for emotional intelligence
Gregg Carnaffan, graduate development manager at HSBC Bank says: ‘If you’re going to be successful you need emotional intelligence. This is an awareness of how your actions affect other people, and how your behaviour is influencing them. Also the ability to pick up, verbally and non-verbally, the mood of other people, and more or less predict how they’re feeling before they come and tell you.’
Financial services provider UBS expects all graduates and interns to be able to show communication and impact. People are expected to chip in with their thoughts, but without being aggressive or combative to get their way.
James Darley, director of graduate recruitment at Teach First, said: ‘You will be dealing with kids from different cultural and social-economic backgrounds to yourself. If you say, “When you go on holiday and you build a sandcastle”, that isn’t showing humility, respect and empathy. A very large majority of the children that we support have never been out of their borough, let alone to the seaside.’
How will my emotional intelligence be assessed?
This trait is most likely to be tested at the interview and assessment centre stages of the application process. Rather than asking you for evidence, assessors will observe your reactions and attitudes to different situations and how adept you are at dealing with them. Empathy and emotional intelligence is all about being sensitive and making sure people are happy.
- Exercises where they are observed:
- In-tray and leadership exercises
- Situational judgement psychometric tests
- Group exercises.
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