In his book, All Customers Are Irrational, William Cusick talks a lot about the irrational customer, near the end though he discusses something a little different, yet still related to customer behavior. He says that a major factor in delivering the right products and service to your irrational customers is hiring employees who can connect with those customers emotionally. When hiring employees it is important to have an understanding of where they stand emotionally, and just like with customers, it is important to understand their behavior and to watch and learn. He says to hire for emotion, then train for skills.
This most closely relates to hiring employees who are emotionally intelligent. Employees who are not just aware of their own emotions and behaviors but who are aware of the emotions and behaviors of others. Annie McKee’s article How to Hire for Emotional Intelligence in the Harvard Business Review confirms many of the points that Cusick makes about hiring for emotion. She suggests checking with references to learn about a candidates emotional intelligence and ask questions in the interview that require the candidate to talk about how they behave and respond emotionally. Though Cusick says to test for emotional intelligence or emotion using personality tests, McKee warns against it saying that these tests measure for personality and not emotion, which is what the focus is here. My advice is to use them in conjunction with the other suggestions at hand.
McKee ends her article with this very strong statement. “If you’re able to “see” your candidate’s EI in action, you’ll make a better hire. Or you’ll pass. Either way you’re doing yourself and your organization a big favor.”
You’ve hired the candidate with great emotional intelligence, now what? You must equip the employee with the necessary skills to do the job well, and you must engage the employee so that they want to do well, help fulfill the brand promise, help the company succeed, and hep to make customers happy. Engaged employees who have the tools that they need to succeed, work harder, more efficiently, better, and stick around longer. They also help to increase customer retention. They are your front-line, the face of your company, the people that your irrational customers will be dealing with.
Employees are not expendable, they are assets if you understand how to hire well, equip them, take the time to understand them, and engage them. Your bottom line depends on it.
Cusick, W. J. (2009). All customers are irrational: understanding what they think, what they feel, and what keeps them coming back. New York: AMACOM.
McKee, A. (2016, February 05). How to Hire for Emotional Intelligence. Retrieved March 01, 2018, from https://hbr.org/2016/02/how-to-hire-for-emotional-intelligence