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Part IV Emotional Intelligence Tests: Why you shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket

By: mprinz Friday March 4, 2016 comments

HR EggLast week on an Antiques Roadshow rerun, a guest explained how she found an “egg” while flipping through an auction catalog. Unable to attend the event in person, she phoned in a bid and to her disappointment, lost. She had a bunch of books on antiques and thought the hallmarks looked real - a Fabergé could fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars. Her husband suggested she call the auctioneer to see if she could buy it from the buyer. The buyer, experiencing buyer’s remorse, let her have it for what he paid, $15,000. It was a replica. The problem: bedazzled by the photographs she didn’t bother to inspect anything else. 

Using Emotional Intelligence (EI) tests to narrow your applicant pool could cost you more than you think. You could toss out a potentially great employee or bring in the wrong one. We saw in Part II these types of tests are fallible and malleable. They can be forged or manipulated intentionally or unintentionally. For that matter, almost everything you look for in a candidate can be faked: birth date, social security number, and all the stuff you find in a resume and then some. I’m not saying all candidates are trying to swindle you nor am I suggesting you don’t use testing. There’s more to a person than how they respond to a hopefully compliant, non-discriminatory set of questions on a test. 

The market is flooded with assessments to determine degrees of personality, assertiveness, stress tolerance, cognitive ability, emotional stability, etc. If used correctly, predictive analytic tools can help HR assess a person’s suitability for a position by identifying specific strengths that lead to success in a role. Before deciding which test(s) to use, find out what studies have been done regarding their reliability and validity. Speak to references about experiences, concerns and results. Then figure out where it fits in your process: to match applicants to roles, employees to teams, for employee promotions or for assigning new challenges. 

Employees are your biggest investment. Using test results, a dossier or an interview on its own is like looking at a picture of a priceless work of art to determine its authenticity. At minimum, a candidate selection process should consider the sum of experiences, education/skills, background checks, reference verifications, phone and in-person interviews, tests and more. Examining the whole and its parts will help detect inconsistencies. With a thorough pre and post-employment process hopefully you’ll end up with a good egg.


What’s your current process?

How could it be improved?

What’s missing from it?


Call Innotrieve. We can help unscramble the hiring process.

About the Author: mprinz