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EI testing may prove a bright move

BEING in touch with your emotions may score you a date or two, but being emotionally intelligent could help you secure you a senior management position.

Emotional Intelligence, or EI, is a concept that has been around for a while but only now is being used in a testing environment by recruitment firms.

An EI test measures a set of ‘emotional scales’, including interpersonal skills, intrapersonal skills, adaptability, stress management, and general mood scales. And according to academic researchers, those who score highly on the tests cope better under pressure, make better sales people, and make better managers.

Slade Group’s Lyncroft Consulting recently adopted an emotional intelligence test to use in conjunction with other psychometric testing.

According to the manager of psychological and career management services, Kylie Reynolds, EI testing is different to personality testing because it shows a person’s ability to cope in a particular job role.

“Personality testing is about determining the culture fit and what tasks a person likes to do. It doesn’t tell you how someone is processing emotion,” Ms Reynolds said.

Beilby manager psychological services and outplacement division, Peter Giannas, said while he was cautious of the hype surrounding EI, there was evidence to suggest that people with a high level of emotional intelligence were better sellers and managers.

“A study by Martin Seligman showed that new insurance salesman who were

optimists outsold the other salesmen by 37 per cent over a two-year period,” he said.

“His research (Seligman) showed that someone with high EI can relate better to people and can therefore sell better.”

EI tests currently are being used for recruitment and development at the

senior management level.

“Research suggests its strongly linked to leadership and we’re suggesting it be used at the middle management and above for succession purposes,” Ms Reynolds said.

TMP Worldwide senior psychological assessment and development specialist, Soula Kakulas, said it was important for companies to have a job description before using the test.

“If it is a job that requires a great deal of stress tolerance and the ability to remain optimistic when things constantly are going wrong, then you’d look at using the EI test,” Ms Kakulas said.

The tests also have benefits for employers who want to design training programs or identify weaknesses for development.

Mr Giannas said the tests could be used to determine what training programs could be implemented.

But it’s agreed the test should not be used in isolation.

“At this stage it’s too much in its infancy. You need to combine these tests as much as you can,” Ms Reynolds said.

Mr Giannas said EI was a relatively new part of the field of psychological testing and needed to be used with caution.

“You can use them with personality tests but there has been some research that shows a strong correlation between certain personality tests and the EI tests. Such a strong correlation would suggest that the EI is testing personality,” he said.

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