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March - 2016 - issue > In My Opinion

EQ Trumps IQ for Job Q

David Raj
EVP & Chief HR Officer-CSS Corp
Tuesday, March 1, 2016
David Raj
The IT sector today needs students with the ability and confidence to carry themselves as professionals, a string of degrees is just not enough anymore.

The adage 'Survival of the fittest' first coined in 1854 by the sociologist Herbert Spencer, holds good today 160 years later too. In fact it is only becoming more relevant as our world becomes even more competitive, manipulative and extremely skilled. Only the fittest, smartest and most confident will survive- truer now than ever before.

So we need to define what 'fittest' means in today's context? In this dynamic world, that is still a subject of exploration and academic debate.

Twenty years ago, a new factor took over the definition of fit, or competent. A new concept, that of 'Emotional Intelligence' started posing a challenge to the age old measure of brain power - 'Intelligent Quotient' (IQ) as the single most critical factor for success in a career.

Emotional Quotient (EQ) focuses on life skills, giving importance to emotional awareness of self and others, where the inter-personal context of the interaction with multiple stakeholders becomes important. Viewed in this perspective, business is all about stakeholder management - understanding the business and needs of the customer, and providing the solution, to be successful in the market. Contrary to this, IQ always dealt with a person's analytical, arithmetic and logical reasoning skills, all about academic content.

But out of these, which is more critical for a career in IT? What determines professional success – IQ, or EQ? Simply put, is it primarily your intelligence level or intelligence quotient, or is it your personality characteristics, or is it a combination of several things.

Industry leaders often say, "We hire people for attitude and train them for the skills". So their focus while hiring is- Can he do the job (Competence) vs. Will he do the job (Motivation) vs. Will he fit in (Team / Organization)? (Match)

What Is the Job Quotient Need Today?

Today, the rules of the workplace are rapidly changing; a new yardstick is being used to judge people. It does not measure mere smartness or academic qualifications or even expertise. Instead it measures how well you are able to handle yourself and others, in a corporate role, in a team and in a customer facing role. This yardstick is increasingly being applied in corporate hiring, firing and appraisal decisions and this new criterion will decide successes and failures. Every student or interviewee is most likely to be assessed in terms of these emotional abilities, though the scrutiny will never be explicit.

It is time for students to introspect on their ability to handle situations when they are faced with life's difficult moments - academic or social, with peers, friends or socially. For a job interview they will need different skills, and that needs a different kind of resourcefulness.
The author interacted with many industry leaders and HR Professionals to understand their expectations from industry. The opinions and viewpoints of these leaders are given below:

Most hirers look for a positive attitude among students with a willingness to learn, be open to new information, new environment and challenges. The right attitude will help the organization to clearly predict the behavior or actions of the individual. Organizations insist on the right attitude because once formed, attitudes do not change easily.

Today's students lack clarity of thought. They do not asses themselves correctly, and as a result, lack the much needed self- confidence. Accurate self -assessment will help the student to know his or her areas of weakness or strengths and that will help to plan on how to focus on his strengths and sell those in an interview.

Today, organizations focus on ethical practices and hence demand students with good foundational ethics and values. Trustworthiness and conscientiousness are few expected behavior strengths that go a long way to impress. These traits will help the students to create trust and win the confidence of others.

A student who takes initiative and has a strong motivation for achievement is always the obvious choice of the interviewers, since this attitude will foster a high performance culture in the teams and also motivate others.

As a new joinee needs to deal with customers (internal and external), customer handling skills, service orientation and an empathetic mindset are few traits industry expects today from students.

The team work culture demands good communication skills, ability to influence others and a strong tendency to work with teams.

David Raj

At CSS Corp, David provides thought leadership in building innovative human capital strategies globally and focus on building cutting-edge high productivity HR processes. David has over 23 years of diverse experience in Manufacturing & IT industries where he has worked with companies like Murugappa group, Rane & Polaris. David worked with Virtusa as the Global Head of HR, responsible for conceptualizing and executing HR strategies across all geographies, handling expectations of investors and the board, analysts and media. David holds a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration and a Masters in Social Work from Loyola College, Chennai.

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