Culture Fit Series: Evaluating for Empathy As a Trait

Culture Fit Series: Evaluating for Empathy As a Trait

Culture fit matters. Organizations rely on HR/TA for evaluating culture fit. How do you identify if a candidate has empathy when empathy is crucial for a role?


Empathy is a virtue, a trait that every human should possess or inherit and exhibit. But what does empathy exactly mean? According to Daniel Goleman, “empathy is a consequential part of emotional intelligence, it means showing sensitivity toward and identifying yourself with other people.”


In simpler terms, the ability to put yourself in someone’s position is empathy. You can never understand a person’s views if you are not in his or her position, feeling as if you are in the person’s skin or fitting into their shoes.


Wealthy or needy, strong, or weak everyone should have empathy. Even businesses have understood the need for empathy in today’s world. First, realize empathy comes from within, it is easy for a caring person to feel empathetic about a fellow human being.


Many of your employees may have empathy as their trait. While some of the employees may be practicing this trait diligently. As a recruiter, you can manage empathy, if only you could choose who you are hiring and how you go about the hiring process.


Looking for employees with empathy? Here’s what you should do when hiring.


Hire for temperament and not the qualification


Every organization will want to recruit the most qualified candidates on board. What if the qualified candidates do not have the right attitude nor the temperament? On the flip side, if a candidate is not so qualified, but has a great attitude and is enthusiastic, this candidate will have the qualities of empathy and will make a difference at the workplace. Qualification can be overrated, remember, skills can be taught but empathy must dwell from within. Hire people who are motivated and easy to work with.


Give importance to emotional intelligence


Emotions equal to success in business. As per the Global Empathy Index, Facebook, Alphabet, and LinkedIn were the top 3 empathetic companies. The interesting fact is the top 10 companies increased their value twice as that of the companies on the bottom list. Awestruck to know how the revenue per employee increased 50% compared to the least ranked companies. Ultimately, the direct link between empathy and commercial success is well proved.


Jack Ma, the founder of the e-commerce giant Alibaba, in one of his speeches at the World Economic Forum, stated, “to serve people better, you should have a service heart.” He also shared his strong views on teaching the next generation, “If we do not change the way we teach, in 30 years we’ll be in trouble. We cannot teach our kids to compete with machines that’ll be smarter.” Instead, “we have to teach our kids something unique, so that a machine can never catch up with us: values, believing, independent thinking, teamwork, care for others — the soft skills — sports, music, painting, arts, to make sure humans are different from machines.” A great mind like him knew the worth of emotions that can reward with success.


Knowing the significance of emotional intelligence, recruiters should hire employees based on their values, beliefs, and caring nature. Soft skills and genuine traits can’t be smothered but only evolve for betterment. Employees who nurture these qualities will be assets to their organizations any day.


Show empathy when hiring


When you show empathy during the hiring process, it will make the new hires feel at home. Empathy must be your goal while recruiting employees. If your job ads emphasize empathy, it will attract many candidates to apply for the job. Not only job ads, but even reviews about an organization in Glassdoor and Google also can reveal if the employer is empathetic towards their employees. More so, hiring managers can induce the trait of empathy in their questions during an interview. 


As a recruiter, you can encourage candidates to answer questions, such as:


  1. How do you handle disagreements?
  2. What are your biggest fears? What have you done to overcome them?
  3. Are you a team player? How well you collaborate with people? 
  4. What inspires and motivates you?
  5. What are your strengths?
  6. What kind of work environment attracts you? What is that you are looking for in a workplace?

You can ask these questions to understand your candidate better and analyze if they are empathetic enough.


Phrases to look for in a resume


Employees with empathy at the workplace are easy to find. They stand out from the crowd, the qualities they display will not succumb under any circumstances. Empathetic employees will be highly motivated team players, they will be self-aware, optimistic, and warm. They respond positively to criticism and accept constructive criticism. With respect to business, they will relate well with the customers, create a great rapport, and always work for customer satisfaction. If you could find phrases like these in the candidate’s resume, feel rest assured you are hiring a candidate with empathy.


Share your views with us on how to identify and hire quality talent to make a great workplace.


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