Social Intelligence and Career Resilience:
What Employers Really Want!
According to Jim Hasse, in his blog post Social Intelligence: A Skill Every Job Seeker Needs, he cites Cynthia Kivland’ s book Smart2Smarter which states “employers will hire candidates who have those “SMARTER” social and emotional intelligence skills”.
We know that employers state in job ads or position descriptions that they seek someone with “interpersonal skills” or is a “team player.” What they really want is someone who is “authentic”, civil, empathetic and positively engaging – an applicant who demonstrates “social intelligence.”
Social intelligence is more than learning how to get along or be civil with others. Social intelligence is awareness that we “catch” other people’s emotions the way we catch a cold. In his book Social Intelligence, Daniel Goleman argues “we are designed for sociability, constantly engaged in a “neural ballet” that connects us brain to brain with those around us”. We are intentionally, and often unintentionally, sending and receiving positive or negative emotions. Goleman states “high social intelligence makes good relationships act like vitamins, and low social intelligence makes bad relationships act like poisons”.
How does this matter to your career resilience? When you do or say things to increase the positive emotions of others, especially during a job interview, a “positive energy field and psychologically healthy social connection occurs. Furthermore, in the workplace, leaders with high social intelligence tend to have teams with higher creativity, problem solving, teaming and civility skills.
Conversely, the lack of social intelligence skills is an interview killer. Any display of resentment or telling of a negative story zaps the energy and optimism out of the interviewer. A toxic emotion is felt by the interviewer. Why is this important? What we know is optimism not pessimism attracts career opportunities. Interviewers are more likely to hire someone that makes them ‘feel good”. Workplaces retain employees who attract customers and high performance through optimistic and civil behavior.
So, before you engage in a job interview, interact with a customer, or inspire a team, answer these questions:
- What can I do or say that will create a positive “feeling”?
- How do I want others to feel during and after they interact with me?
- What can I stop doing that can zap the energy from the room?
- What positive career stories do I want others to remember and freely share?
Cynthia Kivland, Master Career Counselor, Board Certified Coach, owner and author of Smart2Smarter, is an enthusiastic advocate, coach and teacher on how to increase career and workplace resilience through social and emotional intelligence. Contact Cynthia for press, speaking requests and workplace and career resilience coaching or training.