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Toss Spaghetti At the Wall: Problems with Emotional Intelligence Testing

By: mprinz Wednesday February 17, 2016 comments

Ever toss spaghetti at the wall to see if it’s cooked? Using Emotional Intelligence (EI) testing in the employment process can be like that. There’s a lot to consider including which type, what for (pre-hire or promotion) and how much. Sometimes, the noodle test isn’t reliable though - lasagna doesn’t stick at all. 

As we saw in Part I, those with high EQs (Emotional Quotients) had a propensity to lead with conviction, were resilient in the face of adversity, and were found to be more engaged and committed which resulted in increased employee satisfaction levels and reduced turnover. Think of the potential savings per year in recruitment costs and training alone. But is this method of testing foolproof?


EI tests fall to the floor in two areas: on their own and in their accuracy.


  1. Solo

None of you would do this – it’s not good and neither is plain fettuccine. 

  1. Truthfulness

Have you ever feigned emotions to influence the outcome of an objective or goal? I have. Stop with the tsk tsking. I’ll bet at some point in life you have too.


Lots of things can be faked. 

In EI testing, depending upon moral and social norms, the “better” answer can be determined by simple deduction. A candidate may pick the “right” response as opposed to the “honest” one if they believe there’s a favorable result (i.e. gainful employment). You, hire that potential top-performer with their high EQ and later realize that knowing the “best” answer on a test doesn’t correlate to what occurs in life. Sort of a eureka moment - only the opposite.


Results can be accidentally - and on purpose - manipulated. 

So we argue, the EI test is only as reliable as the reliability of the taker who takes it. But you know what? Even if your candidate was completely truthful it’s still not indicative as to how they’d react if the situation were real. 

To take it further, how one responds can be influenced by their emotional status at the time of the test, based on what happened earlier that day, week or year. Family factors from culture to relationships plant the first seeds of self-awareness, initiative and empathy within us. From there it all shrinks and grows according to life experience - both the good and the bad.


Is there really a right way to console a friend or a better way to handle a frustrated employee?

And can it be measured?


Call Innotrieve. Let’s noodle on this together. 

About the Author: mprinz