Generation Y can be smart and educated.  Generation Y can also be emotional and flaky.  As hundreds of thousands of Generation Y’ers graduate from college and move into the workforce it is important to identify the traits that can make or break a hire.  So here is the big secret… when hiring a Generation Y graduate, choose EQ over IQ.

College kids today comprise what may be the smartest generation in American history.  Their technical skill is unparalleled and their proficiency at multitasking and adopting new techniques is off the charts.  These are all signs of a high IQ, but does it make for a successful salesperson?  Not according to Malcom Gladwell’s book Outliers.  According to Gladwell, when tracking the professional success of a sampling of the highest middle school IQ’s in California, decades later they show no correlation with IQ and success in business.

So what makes someone successful in the workplace?  If you are looking for answers, a good one is EQ.  EQ is a measure of a person’s adequacy in such areas as self-awareness, empathy, and dealing sensitively with other people.  When stepping into an interview with a recent college graduate, it is easy to be blown away by their GPA, technical skills set or bi-lingual capabilities.  Rather than focusing on the IQ, ask them questions about how well they handle adversity, stress and their relationship with their friends and co-workers.

The Emotional Intelligence Training Company has some great advice on the topic.  They also provide some very intriguing interview questions like: Tell me about a time when your awareness of your own emotions caused you to change your plan of action?

If you hire a new graduate, you will be getting a smart and technically proficient addition to your team.  But will you get someone who can manage stress, handle their emotions and bounce back from adversity?