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How the Prowess Project algorithm works: Marrying the art & science of hiring

“How does the Prowess Project job-matching algorithm work?” Without a doubt that is the top question that I get from employers, talent, press and thought leaders alike. 

After speaking to hundreds of hiring managers and caregivers wanting to return to the workforce, the question that kept coming up, but never answered, was, Why are emotional intelligence skills oftentimes ignored in the hiring process? 

What is emotional intelligence? And why should employers care?

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence (EQ) refers to the ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. In the workplace, examples of behaviors associated with high emotional intelligence are: conflict resolution, active listening, time-management and collaboration. 


Though measuring emotional intelligence within companies is new, companies whose employees show high levels of emotional intelligence consistently outperform those who don’t.  An example includes a Texas-based Fortune 500 Company added $32 million to their bottom line in reduced turnover costs and increased sales revenues by introducing EQ into their hiring process and training programs.

Why is emotional intelligence important in hiring? 

To create a workforce with high EQ, one of the top strategies is to hire employees who display high levels of emotional intelligence. 

In a survey of more than 2600 hiring managers & HR professionals, 71% said, in an employee, they value EQ more than IQ, their intelligence quotient or their reasoning ability & what is highlighted on a resume, and 75% said they were more likely to promote a candidate with high EQ over one with high IQ. So, it begs the question… where are EQ skills identified and vetted in the hiring process?

Today’s hiring process by-the-numbers 

  • Open role: 1 
  • Applicants per professional role: 250
  • Resumes reviewed by recruiter: 66 (typically recruiters only review a third of the applications submitted) 
  • Applicants invited for screening phone interview based on skills: 4-6
  • Applicants to interview with team: 3
  • Offers extended: 1

Problem: emotional intelligence is introduced way too late in  today’s hiring process, if at all. 

Per the breakdown of the hiring process above, many employers do not begin to assess emotional intelligence skills until the screening phone interview, if at all.  According to one study, only 30% of companies look for emotional intelligence during the hiring process.”

That means that at best 244 applicants per job are not given the opportunity to show off their emotional intelligence skills and are automatically rejected based on their resume.  Since we know that EQ skills are valued more than IQ skills by hiring managers, this is a HUGE breaking point in today’s hiring process.

The Prowess Project Way

This graphics represents the talent acquisition funnel and what candidates are vetted on.  Most employers start with education, then industry experience (professional/hard skills – reminder: hard skills are assessed IQ skills), and just recently, they have been testing for tech expertise. From there, the recruiter or hiring manager would then make the decision on who to interview, again cutting the potentially 250 applicants, to 4-6. 

Talent Acquisition Funnel

At Prowess Project, we further qualify talent by: 

  • Behavior style, how someone acts at one time
  • EQ skills, how someone manages her emotions and reacts to the emotions of others 
  • Values, what is important to her or the characteristics and behaviors that motivate her and guide her decisions

These extra data points allow us to ensure alignment with the hiring manager and existing team as well as present and future opportunities of the role.  From there, we build a shortlist of the top three candidates proving to cut employers’ cost and time to hire in half.   We gather that data from our talent during our upskilling course or “Build a Profile exercise. 

The Magic 

Where Prowess Project takes the data to the next level is how we utilize the professional and behavioral data that we gather from the talent and the hiring managers and measure the compatibility.  

Why is that so important? 

When sourcing a candidate, do you care that she is in the top 99% percentile of effective communicators OR do you care HOW she asks questions, problem-solves and communicates? And if that style will work well and add to the value of your team as a whole?

In this effective communication example, our tech anticipates what can be a disruptive communication-style based on your existing team and finds the person who will work best with them. 

Tying this together with our Mission 

Prowess Project was created to help women, in particular moms, find jobs that fit their lifestyle and value their professional and people skills.  When interviewing working moms, what we heard time and time again was how they often felt their strengths lie in emotional intelligence skills but were getting ignored by employers because there wasn’t an effective method to showcase, measure and speak to them. 

“As a society, we have deemed hard skills, mainly professional or technical skills, as ‘currency-worthy’ whereas soft skills, emotional intelligence or people skills, as compliments. This puts underrepresented populations, including women, at a disadvantage when it comes to career progression as they tend to have well-developed soft skills.” – Jennifer Harrold, Career Coach, General Assembly

Why vetting EQ skills in the hiring process benefits women, in particular, working mothers 

To answer this, we turned to the data, and in fact, our interviewees were right about their, and women’s as a whole, tendency to have more developed emotional intelligence skills. 

According to a Korn Ferry study of 55K professionals “women score higher than men on nearly all (11 of 12) emotional intelligence competencies, except emotional self-control, where no gender differences are observed.”  Incredible!  Hiring managers want these skills, women consistently outperform men in these skills, yet, these skills are not bubbled up to the hiring decision makers. 

On top of the naturally high emotional intelligence competencies of women, American professionals highlight working mothers’ ability to use them in the workforce and the benefits it brings.  

Per Bright Horizons, Modern Family Index, 84% of employed Americans said they believe that having working moms in leadership roles will make the business more successful.  Working mothers are said to excel in the following areas: growth mindset, emotional intelligence, courage, capacity to collaborate and purposeful action.  All areas that fall into people vs professional skills. 

84% of employed Americans said they believe that having working moms in leadership roles will make the business more successful.

How hiring women, in turn, benefits employers’ bottom line

Summing up what we know – all backed by data.  

Employers want EQ skills in hiring. 

EQ skills correlate to higher profitability for companies. 

Women have EQ skills. 

Throwback to high school math, by the transitive property, it seems that hiring women translates into cost savings or profit gains for the companies as a whole?

Indeed it does:

  • Companies see a 15% increase in profit when there are 3+ women on the leadership team. 
  • Companies with at least one woman on their board are 28% more likely to outperform a company with an all-male board
  • For tech companies, for every percentage of women they have in their workforce, their stock price increases .1%.  This can equal 100s of 1000s if not millions of dollars for tech companies. 

Hook, line, sinker.  Hiring using emotional intelligence and diversifying your talent by bringing in more women is a no-brainer.

Experience the Prowess Project magic for yourself.

Hiring? Check us out.  Prowess’ low-risk trial walks you through our hiring process, shortlisting the top three candidates based on skills & emotional intelligence compatibility within a week, all FREE of charge. 

“Wow, finally, a company who gets hiring. Gets what employers want and what candidates have, and ties it together with data!” – HR expert

Do you have an example of when emotional intelligence helped your hiring process? We’d love to hear it. Chime in below. 


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