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Recruitment & training can be super-charged through testing and developing EQ skills



Recruitment isn’t easyUSAF Para Rescue Jumpers

Finding the right people for the right roles is not easy. Businesses often struggle to get the right fit. This can have a huge impact on how a business performs.

I find that whilst many recruiters or managers tend to understand the technical skills required for a role, few think enough or truly understand the personal, behavioural qualities.  Talent acquisition tends to be an over-reliance on academic and related work experience for prospective candidates because this is historic, easier to validate and easier to understand.  Having the academic qualifications, cognitive abilities and relevant necessary for a specific job is important of course. However rarely these key things alone are assurance of high performance in a role.  If fact the more senior or influential a role becomes, the less important these predictive factors.



  • Over reliance on IQ rather than EQ

Indeed, with the absence of other viewpoints on understanding required competencies there’s almost certainly an over-reliance on them as opposed to the personal skills required. These rely heavily on emotional and behavioural elements which are still not well understood. And those that do train them rarely do so in either a comprehensive or methodical way based on any scientific model of personal performance.

  • Every role has a set of emotional competencies that are specific to it – do you know them?

With a bit of training and support it becomes much easier to understand and so map the ‘most appropriate’ EQ attributes for a role’s competencies. And this can make all the difference to not just recruitment but training relevant skills for the role and assessing performance.

  • EQ enhances every sphere of life and work

In a study just over 10 years ago, The US Air Force were having significant difficulties finding the right people for their para-rescue jumper programme. The programme took 20 months to training people to jump out of aircraft and look after injured soldiers,

Their inability (there was over 80% failure rate on the programme) to find the right people was costing the Air Force $ millions a year in failed recruitment efforts and significant issues finding the right people.

  • Using statistics to select the right people works

Turning to EQ for the answer, they tested their ‘best’ people in this role and found out exactly what the key EQ attributes were that made them high performers.  They then recruited with a greater focus on those attributes and noticed something amazing happened.

  • EQ makes a massive difference

Year 1 – there was a massive improvement in recruitment efficiency (over 90% increase in recruitment effectiveness) saving time and money ($19 million in their first year) and with a smarter recruitment process.


 EQ makes training programmes more effective

The USAF also gained a far greater awareness of the skills that mattered most in this role.  This had huge knock-on effects for things like improved training programme design and for tailoring individual development needs where one or more EQ attributes might be in need.

What I think many don’t realise is that the wider area of emotional intelligence development can have measurable performance indicators built into programmes. EQ skills are very much practical skills, based in a logical framework. EQ is not simply a nice-to-have set of attributes. They are often the driving force behind higher performance, success and wellbeing. And the knock-on effects of such programmes often ripple across organisations and cultures in significant ways, all of which align naturally to organisational values and goals.

Popular/large organisations need efficient ways to filer applications

Using EQ psychometrics amongst the assessments they give can be clever way to fine tune this process.


Finally, EQ cultures are happier, more positive places to work

They attract the best talent, because ultimately people like to work where they like the people and culture. This often counts more than top money.


So, what were the key emotional intelligence components that made the most difference to the USAF programme?

All 3 components of the EQ-i 2.0 Stress Management Composite were found to be most important out of all the 15 overall components. These three are;

Flexibility – Jumping out an aircraft into the dangerous unknown requires us to be emotionally flexible to be able to adapt thinking and behaviours quickly to novel, stressful situations

Optimism – Having an overall sense that things work out well, maintaining a positive demeanour in such circumstances is a critical skill for this role

Stress Tolerance – Being able to manage our emotions well and effectively cope and deal with stress with challenging situations is clearly key in this role