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Emotional Intelligence Tests: Potential Impacts on the Hiring Process for Accounting Students

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Emotional intelligence is increasingly recognized as being important for professional career success. Skills related to emotional intelligence (e.g. organizational commitment, public speaking, teamwork, and leadership) are considered essential. Human resource professionals have begun including tests of emotional intelligence (EI) in job applicant screening processes. Consequently, if accounting education fails to develop EI skills, students may seem to recruiters to be less qualified. Alternatively, if the tests for EI are inaccurate or easily manipulated, qualified applicants may be overlooked. We examine the ability of subjects studying accounting at a Canadian university to purposely alter their results on two of the most frequently used EI tests: the Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-i) and the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT). We find that subjects can purposely change their EI score to fit the job description. We conclude that neither instrument is clearly better than the other is in the hiring process and both require revision as potential applicants are able purposely to alter their scores.
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Keywords: Emotional intelligence; accounting education; accounting skills; professional competencies; self-presentation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Brock University, Canada

Publication date: 01 February 2012

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