18th February 2022

Emotional Intelligence: Are AI advances in assessing soft skills threatening the value-add of recruitment agencies?


Measuring candidate emotional intelligence

In cases where candidates may have comparable qualifications, certifications, and similar levels of experience, many see it as important to properly assess soft skills. However, with as many as 89% of mis-hires being attributed to soft skills issues, the case for correctly evaluating and testing ‘people’ skills against what candidates may claim on CVs or application forms is imperative.

Conventionally, recruiters like to assess candidates interpersonal qualities at interview. And psychometric and other types of profiling may reveal soft skill aptitudes and other qualities that make for a successful hire. Indeed, this is one of the key elements that a recruiter may bring to the table in setting out the business case when selling professional recruitment services.

However, is this point of value under threat from the steady evolution of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the shape of software applications that may be able to make judgements about the soft attributes of candidates?

Emotional Intelligence may be defined as a type of social intelligence that involves the ability to understand your own emotions and those of others, and using that knowledge to direct your own thinking and behaviour as you interact with those people.

But how do you accurately and consistently even begin to measure and determine what makes someone a ‘people person’ by using a piece of software?

Analysing the attributes that comprise emotional intelligence

The ability to take complex data such as video, voice and text, and use data science tools to analyse it, is well established. One example are the systems used by law enforcement agencies around the world for analysing masses of CCTV, voice call text documents, and Google searches for the purposes of forensic analytics. Caspian from ETZ offers a similar capability for analysing agency data, but using the data generated by back office business applications.

The principle can also be used for the purpose of analysing candidate interview videos, calls and written submissions, and it is able to detect patterns in these complex data sets that cannot be normally identified during normal viewing or listening.

If this sounds like something for the future, it might well be closer than you think. Driven by the desire to improve sales such tools are already available to help account managers and sales teams improve their ability to read and convert in sales situations.

For the purposes of recruitment, the technology can be used to assess soft skills capabilities required for many professional roles where strong communication skills are required. Such abilities as leadership, public speaking, product management, virtual therapy, teaching, language learning, and even the bedside manner of doctors, can all be analysed to understand the influence of emotional intelligence.

As an indication of how advanced this class of technology, known as emotion detection and conversational AI is, in 2026 the combined market size is projected to grow to more than $55 billion.

Optimise your agency back office operations with ETZ

This is all very well, but it does beg some questions, including:

RecTech sure is a minefield! Whatever tools you may use to power your search and selection activities, you always need to ensure that your back office is optimised for efficiency with the right RecTech.

ETZ is the RecTech partner of choice, helping agencies obtain excellent value from technology. To find out more, call us on 0800 311 2266 or book a demo.


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