The days of landing a tech job simply because you can code well are quickly waning. Even holding a computer science degree or having attended coding bootcamp isn't enough anymore. The ability to effectively communicate ideas, collaborate with team members and understand the needs of clients has become increasingly important to success in the world of tech.
oday's employers want to know that the person they hire has both the intellectual capacity and the emotional intelligence (EQ) to meet these new demands.
According to the World Economic Forum's Future of Jobs Report, emotional intelligence will be one of the top 10 job skills by 2020. So it's not surprising that candidates with this in-demand skill have a strong advantage when it comes to the tech job search.
People with a high EQ are self-aware. This means that they are cognizant of their own emotions as well as those of the people around them. In tech, especially at the startup level, cooperation and teamwork are necessities. Employees who empathize with coworkers and take the time to understand their viewpoints are more likely to make strong team members and successfully collaborate with others on projects. Recognizing the good points or ideas that co-workers contribute to a project can demonstrate to a potential employer that you have a high EQ.
If you're looking for a job at a high-growth company, stress is going to be an unavoidable part of the job. Companies at this stage in the business lifecycle usually have a lot going on at once and are often figuring out key parts of their business model as they go along.
According to Fast Company, employees with a high EQ are well-equipped to handle this type of stress thanks to strong internal coping mechanisms and external support systems. They are also able to keep their focus on results, which is vital to a growing business. Mentioning a time when you handled job stress exceptionally well could show an interviewer that you have the emotional intelligence advantage.
Acceptance of Criticism
When you're in a client-facing or support role at a tech company, being able to take criticism from clients is essential, because it's not a matter of if it will happen; it's a matter of when. High-EQ employees don't take criticism personally or let it distract them from doing their job. They work through it and focus on achieving a positive outcome for their company and its clients. A lot of people, at all levels of the corporate ladder, struggle with this skill. If you can show a potential employer that you know how to remain cool and calm in the face of criticism, you've got a serious leg up on the competition.
Agent of Change
Startups are typically on the lookout for people willing to go beyond the minimum job requirements and act as agents of change for the company. High-EQ individuals use their emotional intelligence to anticipate the needs of the company and its customers, and they step up when action is required. They're also more likely to ask questions and be curious and open to new ideas that can fuel innovation. Highlighting a time when you made an innovative contribution or went above and beyond to help your company will impress even the toughest of interviewers.
Author and psychologist Daniel Goleman, Ph.D., once stated: "no amount of smarts will make up for a lack of ever-important emotional and social abilities, especially as part of the professional world." Given the increase in the demand for EQ, employers seem to agree. Being able to make thoughtful decisions while recognizing the impact on others (co-workers and clients alike) is an invaluable skill, especially in tech, where the need for thoughtful decision-making is always present. Demonstrate this ability to an employer, and you could find yourself on the fast-track to a leadership position within the company.
The tech industry is increasingly competitive and any advantage that you have could be a tipping point in your favor. Even if you weren't born with high EQ skills, being aware of them and the role that they play in having a successful tech career can be very helpful. This, in turn, will help you to identify what skills you need to work on and with professional EQ training, you'll be well on your way to landing a great tech job that allows you to maximize your full potential.