Emotional Intelligence (EI) is the secret weapon you need to build into your selling arsenal if you want to hit new heights as a recruiter.
A high level of emotional intelligence doesn’t just allow you to interact with and understand your clients and leads better; it also reduces the stress and strain of selling – a huge advantage in the high-pressure world of recruitment.
So, what is emotional intelligence, how does EI help you become a better recruiter, and – most importantly of all – how do you build it?
What is Emotional Intelligence?
Put simply, EI is the ability to recognise and manage emotions – both your own emotions and those of the people around you. The core principles are self-awareness; self-regulation; socialisation; empathy, and motivation.
Someone with high EI is, therefore:
- Someone who is self-aware and recognises their own emotions and how they impact others.
- Someone who is in control of their emotions.
- Someone who builds relationships easily with others.
- Someone who recognises and responds with compassion to other people’s emotions.
- Someone who is motivated towards a goal.
How does EI Help a Recruiter Succeed?
As you can imagine, someone who displays the above traits of relationship-building, empathy, motivation and emotional control is in an extremely strong position as a recruiter.
They are good at building networks and positive relationships with clients and are good at gauging that fine line between effective selling and pushiness.
Given that clients will make at least part of their decision based on how they ‘feel’ about your sales interaction, the skill of reading a prospect’s emotions well is something that will pay dividends in a recruiter’s billing numbers.
Additionally, because someone with high emotional intelligence is in control of their own emotions and motivational levels, they suffer less from stress and the negative feedback that all recruiters face. People with high EI maintain their motivation, even when the going gets tough.
Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? So, what if your level of Emotional Intelligence isn’t naturally high, or you’d like to improve it further? Can you build it?
Absolutely. Here’s how.
Ways to Increase your Emotional Intelligence
It’s true, some people have higher levels of emotional intelligence than others, and this can be through a combination of innate personality traits and environmental factors (for example, if your parents don’t display high levels of emotional intelligence, you won’t have learnt good habits through their modelling.)
But the good news is that emotional intelligence is easily improved, and is something that even the best recruiters are working on, all the time.
1. Improve your listening skills.
The ratio of listening to speaking should be roughly double. If you get off the phone with a prospect and realise you didn’t learn much about what they needed but got a lot of what you wanted to say across, this means that you have largely failed the sales call from an emotional intelligence perspective.
Ask good questions, listen carefully to the response, and finally, offer an answer that refers to their situation, so they know they’ve been heard. Moreover, never, ever interrupt. This is the biggest secret to selling success.
2. Pause before you react.
It’s easy to let emotions take over in a high-pressure situation. In a quote attributed (perhaps apocryphally) to Victor E. Frankl, he wrote that:
“Between stimulus and response, there is space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
This is a powerful strategy for successful recruiters to adopt. Rather than letting our brains fire off the first, often unformed response that springs to mind, a high EI person pauses for a moment to consider a measured response. The power of the pause cannot be underestimated. If you’re one of the many who fears pauses in conversation on the phone, then don’t – it often adds to the weight of what you’re saying when you do offer your considered response.
Result: you don’t say anything you regret, and you come across as strong, calm, and thoughtful. You may also benefit from mindfulness or meditation training in becoming more centred and calm in the moment.
3. Always apologise when at fault, or admit when you don’t know something.
Whether you’re speaking with a client, candidate, or colleague, it does no-one any favours to try to shift or avoid blame, or waffle on with an answer when you don’t know what you’re talking about.
Offer your genuine apologies for making an error (without grovelling), and when faced with a question you don’t know how to answer, just calmly and professionally admit it. Saying something like ‘I’d hate to give the wrong answer on that one, and I’m not 100% positive myself, so I’ll find out and get back to you immediately’ works wonders. Although it feels like it exposes weakness, this strategy tends to engender respect. As long as, that is, you do get back to them with a good answer straight away!
4. Change your mind-chatter.
To improve your resilience and self-awareness in the face of rejection and criticism, it’s important to reframe your self-talk. For instance, if you put yourself down after an unsuccessful call, then you’re failing to learn the lessons from it.
Every perceived setback in recruitment must, therefore, be reframed as a learning opportunity. This creates a resilient mental approach to ‘negative’ experiences and allows you to maintain motivation through tough times.
These are just a few of the ways you can build your emotional intelligence to become a more successful recruiter, as well as enjoy better relationships in all aspects of your life. There are many resources on the web as well as training courses to build your EI for career success, so get researching!
Until next time,