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Emotional intelligence on the agenda at symposium


Zuleika Henderson
3 November 2010
Using emotional intelligence in the recruitment process could be a new tool for employers anxious to hire the right staff, says a Southern Cross University researcher.

PhD student Karen Long has begun research to understand how emotional intelligence, or EI, can be used to choose the right staff in an employment interview.

The research will be one of the topics at the Graduate College of Management’s bi-annual Doctoral Symposium at Southern Cross University in Tweed Heads beginning this Friday, November 5, which is set to be attended by 80 doctoral candidates and academics.

Ms Long, who also lectures in selection and performance management at Southern Cross University, said emotional intelligence was the skill of understanding and managing the emotions of other people and yourself.

“Emotional intelligence has become firmly rooted in business studies as a personality trait that is desirable in business leaders and management,” said Ms Long.

“Recruitment is one of the biggest challenges facing all businesses, and selecting the right personnel is paramount for business success, but the evidence suggests emotional intelligence could provide the key to a more successful recruitment and selection process.

“Sometimes the decision to employ someone is not based on the candidate’s qualifications so it can be a mystery why one applicant is chosen over another, but in fact we know there is a ‘similar to me’ effect where people naturally gravitate to others like them.

“The research will test this theory, investigating what effects the EI levels of the interviewer and interviewees have on the selection process and specifically if an interviewer with EI will instinctively select others with EI.

“From this we will explore the possibility of developing an EI model which could be used by employers to help them make the best decisions in an interview situation- which is what I will be discussing with my fellow PhD students at the symposium this weekend.”

Director of the Doctor of Business Administration program Professor Ian Eddie said the symposium emphasised the practical applications of the research.

“Southern Cross University has the largest DBA program in Australia– almost 300 students have already graduated from the program and there are nearly 150 currently in preparation for their Doctor of Business Administration through SCU,” said Professor Eddie.

“The research conducted as part of the doctoral program not only has an impact in the academic world, but also influences thinking in industry, policy making and society in general – so it is extremely important and relevant.

“The symposium allows candidates from right around the world to meet face-to-face to exchange ideas and look at how they can best disseminate and apply their new ideas to the real world.”

As part of her research Ms Long will work with major employers such as Queensland Health, using the Swinburne University Emotional Intelligence (SUEIT) test to measure the emotional intelligence of the interviewer and the candidates in at least 300-500 panel interview scenarios.

She said the research would have immediate practical applications for businesses.

“This research focuses on employers learning to use their own EI to select others with EI,” said Ms Long.

“Utilising EI in the interview process may enhance the chances of hiring right the first time and this will ultimately lift effectiveness of business.”

For more information about studying for a DBA at the Graduate College of Management phone 07 5506 9364 or email

Photo: Professor Ian Eddie is the director of Southern Cross University's DBA program. Doctoral students will meet this weekend at a bi-annual symposium. (high resolution image available on request)