Why You Need to Score Big on Emotional Intelligence

The job application process is as grueling as it is overwhelming. You need more certifications, degrees, and general qualifications than ever — unless, of course, that makes you overqualified, whatever that means. If you've only paid attention to technical skills and networking, it might be time to study for a new job-hunt hurdle.

Two Swiss universities have just announced a new, peer-reviewed test that reviews emotional competencies at work. It's called the Geneva Emotional Competence Test, or GECO, and it recognizes that a person's overall psychology or their behavior in personal situations is often different from how they behave on the job. "The more emotional intelligence skills you have and the better those skills are, the better your work outcomes are, above and beyond your cognitive intelligence or personality," said co-author Marcello Mortillaro in a press release.

This tracks with other research into emotional intelligence in the workplace. Earlier this year, a consulting company surveyed thousands of hiring managers to find the No. 1 reason why new employees are fired. The answer: attitude. In other words, having poorly developed or cultivated "soft skills," such as temperament, ability to work on a team, ease of accepting feedback, and levels of motivation, doesn't balance out technical excellence at job tasks.

This isn't the same as being a contrarian, which provides a useful outside perspective on insider assumptions. That said, the GECO might make its way into job applications of the future, in whatever form. For some employees, it would be not a moment too soon.