The emotional quotient, or EQ, is well known to be a great predictor of success. Much better, in fact, than IQ or even earlier efforts at emotional and skills assessments. And while using EQ assessments in the recruiting process can seem pretty straightforward, getting the most out of the results takes work. It’s not enough to just give prospective recruits a test, check the results, and hire the ones with the highest scores. Effectively tying EQ assessments into your recruiting process requires an understanding of how EQ works and the benefits that it can bring. Once you understand the advantages of using EQ assessments, you can leverage these benefits to build a stronger organization.

Implementing EQ assessment deeply into your recruiting process can improve the quality of hires, streamline the recruiting process, and increase retention significantly. It can also make for a healthier and happier workforce. Here are four ways to improve your recruiting by deep integration of EQ assessments.

1. Make Sure All Recruiters Thoroughly Understand EQ Assessments

While assessments like the EQ-i 2.0 try to make the process of understanding a candidate’s EQ as simple as possible, emotional intelligence is a complex and far-reaching concept. That’s why it often simply isn’t enough to implement EQ testing in the recruiting process.

Integrating the EQ assessment process begins with a thorough understanding of the principles of emotional intelligence. Make sure that everyone involved in the recruiting process is not only familiar with the assessment but also with the underlying concept of emotional intelligence. Your recruiters and hiring managers should know what the subsets and individual scores on the assessment mean, and how they interact. A poorly trained staff might overlook otherwise excellent candidates whose top score is hurt by a few poor but easily correctable sub-scores.

2. Use EQ Assessments To Shorten The Short List

Ideally, the recruiting process would begin with an EQ assessment. A submitted resume or work experience can tell your recruiting staff a lot about potential candidates, but resumes at a professional level all tend to look rather similar. Filtering by soft skills and emotional intelligence would give you a much stronger and more refined set of candidates. Unfortunately, the costs and time involved with screening applicants as a first step is too much for many organizations. Instead, implement a policy of using EQ assessments to narrow down the field after they’ve already passed through the first (or even the second) round of interviews.

By implementing an EQ assessment step in your recruiting process, you can be sure that the candidates that make it to the final consideration not only have the technical skills, but the emotional skills necessary to do the job. For candidates that show exceptional hard skills and ability, the EQ assessment can point out weaknesses that can be targeted for improvement early. The assessment will also help you figure out what kind of offer to make by identifying candidates that may be a little more work to onboard, due to deficiencies in some aspects of their emotional intelligence. Finally, by putting the assessment later in the process, you save the costs (financial and manpower) of running an assessment to just those employees that you know are capable of performing the tasks you need.

3. Identify Loyalty

Loyalty is one of the two keys of retention (the other being happiness, see number 4). Unfortunately, identifying loyalty can be incredibly difficult. Individuals tend to display loyalty in different ways, build it in different ways, and generally make it difficult to pin down what it looks like before the fact. There are clues, to be sure – candidates with few previous jobs, each lasting a long time, for instance. Still, these clues are nowhere near as powerful for determining loyalty as an EQ assessment can be.

Identifying loyalty by means of an EQ assessment is not an easy task. It often takes an advanced understanding of the principles of emotional intelligence and how they tie in to workplace performance to accurately capture this attribute. Still, having the proper training in place can give you an incredible leg up on the competition. Some companies report seeing a decrease in first year turnover of as much as 75% by integrating EQ assessments into their recruiting process .

4. Build Health and Happiness Through Personal Growth

The second key to retention is happiness. And one of the easiest ways to make your employees happy is by helping them grow as employees and also as individuals. This might be the most commonly overlooked benefit to EQ assessments, and one of the easiest and most beneficial to implement into your recruiting process.

When you do find a candidate who is a good match, review the EQ assessment they took with them. Identify areas where they and you think they can make some improvement. Then, build a program to help them become better and track their progress regularly. Not only will you have an employee that progressively improves, but your employee will become a better person through your help and coaching. The loyalty this can build is astronomical, and will produce a happier, healthier, and harder working team.