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When it comes to identifying the most suitable individual for a role, a strong academic background is often an important factor but not the sole focus for assessing the fit for a company. 

When choosing the right candidate, we often look for a balance of IQ and factors such as evidence of collaboration and teamwork to understand how a potential new hire would fit into a team and the overall company culture. But, like anything, these factors need to be continually worked on and developed. Learning doesn’t stop after formal education – find out how you can keep IQ and EQ refreshed.

In the face of that phenomenon, it is no wonder that employers started looking for alternative ways to distinguish candidates. Academics and intelligence are not the only things that matter anymore, with emotional intelligence or even common sense being just as relevant. 

That is why, here at Freshminds, we pay great attention to both of those aspects of our candidates’ personality. We are after what we call a consulting skillset, and believe it is that mix of both IQ and EQ that is a determining factor of success.

Striking a balance

Skillsets that we believe in striking a balance between IQ and EQ consists of problem-solving, numeracy, personal impact, communication and collaboration - with the first two directly correlating with IQ, the latter two with EQ proving a candidate’s motivation and a drive to make a positive change.

That’s why it’s important to firstly be aware of your own strengths and weaknesses but know how to improve them too.

What organisations think about IQ? 

IQ stands for Intelligence Quotient and is a total score from a variety of tests used to measure human intelligence. Its existence is tested by a mixture of tasks examining one’s short-term memory, analytical thinking, mathematical ability and spatial recognition. It has also been proven that high IQ levels are typically connected to greater success in life. EQ, on the other hand, is a measure of emotional intelligence so a person’s interpersonal and communication skills.

Of course, IQ is an important part of anybody’s professional development. In our line of work within the world of analysts and consultants, cognitive skills, problem-solving, critical thinking, and the ability to acquire and apply knowledge, are especially pivotal.

How to improve your IQ:

The most proactive way to improve your IQ is through learning, whether that’s university, professional diplomas, or additional courses. 

However, there are less conventional ways to improve your technical skills - we explore those below. 

  • Learn a second language.

Learning a second language can have positive effects on IQ. Bilingual individuals often exhibit improved cognitive skills and increased IQ scores. However, the extent of this effect can vary among individuals. So, not only is it a good way to exercise your brain, but it is also a handy skill that looks good on the CV and generally improves your employability.

  • Work out.

The endorphins that are released during cardio workouts are an excellent booster for your brain’s activity. Exercise increases blood flow to the brain and promotes the release of neurotrophic factors. Some studies show it can enhance memory, attention, and overall cognitive abilities, especially when performed consistently over time.

  • Meditate.

Meditation practice does not only work wonders for your emotional wellbeing - but it is also scientifically proven to be one of the most powerful tools used to encourage your brain’s activity and ultimately increase your cognitive functions and IQ.

  • Get enough sleep.

Try to get around 8 hours of sleep a day - sleep significantly influences IQ by enhancing memory consolidation, problem-solving, attention, learning, and emotional regulation. Adequate sleep promotes better cognitive performance, while chronic sleep deprivation can impair IQ by affecting memory, problem-solving, and overall cognitive function.

  • Play brain games such as chess or puzzle.

Brain games challenge memory, problem-solving, and attention, potentially enhancing cognitive abilities. While they promote neural plasticity and mental agility, their direct and long-term impact on overall IQ remains debated. And they are also immensely fun!

  • Learn an instrument.

Learning to play a musical instrument can have positive effects on IQ and cognitive abilities. It enhances brain development, memory, problem-solving skills, and spatial-temporal reasoning. Music education involves various cognitive processes that can contribute to overall intellectual growth.

  • Pay attention to your diet.

Your diet can significantly impact IQ by influencing brain development and function. Nutrient-rich diets aid cognitive growth, while poor nutrition can impair IQ. Blood sugar levels and hydration also affect cognitive performance. However, IQ is influenced by genetics, education, and environmental factors in addition to diet.

Are organisations looking for EQ? 

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is a vital aspect of human interaction and personal development. EQ refers to the ability to understand, manage, and utilise emotions effectively in oneself and in relationships with others. 

And in a professional setting, there are clear benefits to being able to manage healthy interpersonal relationships. 

For instance, people with high EQ can empathise, communicate, and resolve conflicts more effectively, leading to healthier and more harmonious connections with others. In professional settings, EQ is critical for leadership and teamwork. Leaders with high EQ can inspire and motivate their teams, fostering a positive and productive work environment.

How to Improve your EQ

In more technical and data-driven roles, like analysts and research scientists, sometimes candidates will have hugely impressive technical skill sets with a high IQ but lack high levels of EQ. 

Below are a few tips for improving your EQ. 

  • Work on the non-reactivity.

The only thing that determines whether a particular situation is long-term ‘good’ or ‘bad’ is their consequences, not the situation itself. And since we cannot predict the future and know the outcome of our decisions, we should withhold our tendency to judge and practice mindful acceptance instead.

  • Learn to handle criticism.

Take all criticism, regardless of how it has been communicated as constructive feedback and use it to your advantage. It demonstrates self-awareness, self-regulation, and empathy. Constructively receiving and responding to criticism can improve interpersonal relationships, emotional resilience, and personal growth - all key components of EQ.

  • Bounce back from failures.

Failure is inseparable from success - coming to peace with it and learning from your mistakes is essential. Instead, you can use it to your advantage and identify areas of needed improvement. And also take comfort in the fact that we all experience failure in both our personal and professional lives.

  • Work on your empathy.

Empathy is a fundamental component of EQ. It involves the ability to understand and share the feelings of others, which is essential for building strong interpersonal relationships, effective communication, and resolving conflicts. Understand that behind every person's behaviour, there are circumstances you are not aware of.

  • Take responsibility for your feelings.

You cannot always control what happens, but you can fully control how you react to it. Responsibility and emotional intelligence are closely related. By understanding accountability, self-regulation, and empathy, you'll be able to move forward during times of conflict or misunderstanding.

  • Leave your comfort zone as often as you can.

It's not always easy leaving our comfort zones, but personal development is not possible without it. It encourages personal growth and builds resilience, and interacting with diverse situations and people can develop emotional awareness and social skills.

Final thoughts on how to improve EQ and IQ

Balancing IQ and EQ involves recognising your strengths and weaknesses in cognitive and emotional intelligence. Cultivate self-awareness, engage in lifelong learning, practice empathy, and regulate your emotions. Embrace adaptability, seek feedback, prioritise mental wellness, and set balanced goals.

Understand when to apply each intelligence, recognising they can complement each other. Achieving this balance is an ongoing, dynamic process that enhances personal growth, success, and well-being.

Practice makes perfect, and working on your intelligence is not an exception. It is a continuous process which should never stop, and the importance of it for both your personal and career development cannot be stressed enough.

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