Whats more important in today’s market? IQ or EQ?

As recruiters, it is our job to think outside the box. We look at an employer, workplace dynamics and a job description and find the perfect person to put forward for the role. I grew up thinking it was your IQ that would set you a part in the workplace, a high IQ would get you ahead. Whereas, in the real world I see first hand that you need to read people and situations to really succeed.

I love how dynamic businesses are now. The once stale business model of 40 hours ‘at the grind’ where management ruled with an iron fist has arguably/ hopefully all but disappeared. With each new generation, we see more emphasis on flexibility, passion, motivation, enjoyment and work/life balance. People want to do a job they love, to work in an environment that supports them and generally enjoy their job. Our work places are more emotive than ever, so it makes sense that a candidate’s Emotional Intelligence level is of utmost importance to a workplace.

When IQ was King

I was a school child of the 90’s. At school we sat tests, academic tests. The smart kids were rewarded for good marks, the non academics were often left to their own devices and the middle of the road, well they were just middle of the road. Our future was determined by end of year tests, which tested our learned knowledge from a year of lessons. Those with a high IQ often did exceptionally well. These test results went on to determine university courses, apprenticeships and the availability of future careers. At school, IQ was King. EQ was perhaps something they mentioned in Health or Drama?


What’s are the main differences between IQ and EQ?

In a nutshell. IQ is your Intelligence Quotient, a score based on abilities such as:

  • Visual and spatial processing
  • Knowledge of the world
  • Working memory and short-term memory
  • Quantitative reasoning
  • Problem solving

EI or EQ is your Emotional Intelligence/ Quotant and can be determined by abilities such as

  • Self and social awareness
  • How you relate to others
  • Read how others feel with verbal and non verbal cues
  • Self control of our own emotions
  • Acknowledging and praising others
  • Demonstrating humility

Then vs Now

IQ was important. Learning and retaining information, problem solving and critical thinking were of great importance as knowledge was not at our finger tips.

However, fast forward to 2018 and knowledge is on us, not necessarily in us. Don’t know something? Google it or just ask Siri? Want to know the best way to solve a complex problem? You can literally Google the problem and see how others solved it. However, can I ask Siri about how my staff are coping with certain situations or ask her why a staff member  feeling demotivated?

It seems the value of having a high IQ may have somewhat diminished as a result of the unlimited real time information available at our fingertips. However, you cannot find your employees’ emotional strengths and weaknesses via a quick Google search. Emotional insights are not something that the internet can readily provide, perhaps giving the EQ rich the clear edge?

What the Experts Say

Collette has worked with Virtue Consulting since 2009 and has placed many top quality candidates in some amazing roles.

‘Our clients get candidates to do psychometric testing which measures your numerical, verbal and abstract reasoning and there is a personality piece as well, so it covers both IQ and EQ.  I really think our clients think they are both equally as important. In today’s market our clients can teach someone the job/skills but cant teach them how to have a good attitude or personality etc. They want a candidate who can understand what they want and pick up the job quickly, but equally culture and team fit is of huge importance’

So Who Wins?

At the end of the day the ideal candidate, staff member, Manager or CEO needs to be aware of both. The IQ gives you the ability to think critically, solve problems and work effectively, and your EQ allows you to do it all whilst inspiring and thinking of others. Both are important and when used together, like all dynamic duos, make you invincible!

Here are some daily practices to increase your EQ and IQ

  • Meditate – Meditation is not just good for your physiological health, reducing stress, improving mood, and setting you up for emotional equilibrium rather than reactivity. It can also make you significantly smarter. People who meditate show significant gains in creativity, concentration, and self-awareness. Check out the beginners guide here
  • Mix it up – Do everything days differently. Brush your teeth with the opposite hand, stir your coffee anti clockwise. These small changes to ‘autopilot’ mode form new pathways and connections in the brain.
  • Keep a diary – If you can’t understand your own feelings, you will never understand other people’s. Be aware how you are feeling during the day and how this impacts on you and people around you.