The goal in HR is finding it. “It” being Emotional Intelligence. Here’s where human behavioral psychology and now, neuroscience enters. Emotional Intel is about thought process, latent or surface, projected as graphs and/or metrics. Job candidates are presented situations and challenges. Responses produce a score leading to further analysis. Analytics churn up predictions about behavior and future performance tied to firm revenue, pay scale, departmental goals. Outcome: a software-selected candidate.
A contrast to Emotional Intelligence theory
When business leaders accept that HR can hyper-metricize every job candidate using behavioral sciences in software assessment - they practice Surrendered Intelligence. Surrendered Intel means wisdom and intuition commonly used to assess people and environments are replaced. Surrendered Intel occurs when software games and personality tests are presumed to be valid decoders of human passion, skill and potential. It is, for lack of definition, denying the value of applying intuition and thoughtful perceptions about job candidates – including a resume of past successes – for current “emotional intelligence” theory. For instance, a resume is not predictive, only historical. How can one gather predictive behavioral metrics on past accomplishments? Can’t. Instead, assessment software+predictive analytics tells the employer the [future]way a person will likely act, likely think and likely produce. Previously, however, the company chose their target realm of behaviors. These are contained in software tests provided by firms marketing human asset capabilities. Almost. From psychology labs within American universities flow the latest theories on human attributes as Emotional Intelligence, usually using common words like entrepreneur, innovator, self-awareness, risk taker, self-of-all-things. Nothing new – just usual psychology with a new spin from marketing. As for brain function; well, neurology investigates the relationship between the nervous system and brain so, although neuroscience is trendy it’s not the science for assessing skills by HR officers.
Surrendered Intelligence is simply business denying job applicants a way to present their skills and intelligence in a highly personal engagement. Replacing such a natural process is the drive to apply software generated metrics that find people who think alike, are predictable and valued for likeness instead of uniqueness. HR tests people more often than trusting people. I often refer to the new processes as trading a handshake for a "mindshake"; which is to say, the nature of TMI - too much information - becomes an obsessive search for data.
Assessing job candidates psychological test scores, graphs of latent thoughts about things of life, benchmarks in skill categories, deep diving into Twitter and FB accounts - play into the great hype of big data or the sharing economy. Truthfully, only 63% of the American workforce is working. Many, I believe, are not only intelligent, trainable and skilled, but have struggled to scale HR's presentation of surrendered intelligence. We must get back to valuing people by eliminating reliance on the value of bio-data and behavioral sciences.