AQ takes the stage

Long before Socrates walked the streets of Athens, the philosopher Heraclites said, “The only thing that’s constant is change.” Two thousand some years later, his words have proven truer than ever, as globalisation, technology, and a worldwide pandemic push unexpected, rapid developments and challenges on societies across every continent. 

Businesses are only as adaptable as their people, so it’s not surprising that hiring managers, especially in the hospitality industry, are now looking at ways to gauge the adaptability of potential hires – to assess their AQ.


What exactly are IQ, EQ, and AQ?

Of course, before AQ, there was EQ, and before EQ, IQ. What’s the difference, and why do these quotients matter? 

IQ, probably the most well-known and well documented, tests intelligence – a specific kind of intelligence: the ability to learn and reason logically. IQ doesn’t measure facts you’ve memorized, but how well you can look at a set of information and make deductions. 

EQ, which stands for emotional quotient and deals with emotional intelligence, assesses your ability to recognize and manage your emotions effectively, read others’ emotions, and navigate interactions and relationships with people

AQ measures the ability to adapt to new situations quickly, see challenges as opportunities, and persevere through difficulties, all of which are highly important as far as hospitality recruitment is concerned, especially in the age of COVID-19.


IQ is important – but it’s not enough

Whereas in the past a high IQ might have sufficed, and though it’s clearly not a bad quality to have today, the skills of deduction and reasoning are not necessarily enough to keep a business afloat. The world is changing too rapidly. A company might have the perfect business model now, but if its leadership and employees aren’t able to adapt to sudden changes in the economy, or customer demands, technology, and globalisation, that company won’t last. 

Unfortunately, we’ve seen this amplified over the course of the pandemic. More is needed than cold, hard analytical skills; adaptiveness is the new logic. 


Measuring difficult-to-measure qualities

EQ and AQ focus more on soft skills – those that are harder to quantify, but have proven indispensable in navigating a constantly shifting landscape. So, if they’re harder to quantify, how does one measure them? 

To evaluate EQ, a potential hire can take a self-assessment, and respond to questions about themselves on a scale (completely agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, completely disagree, for example). Another way to gauge someone’s emotional intelligence is to ask colleagues or friends what they think about that person in a controlled survey. 

Lastly, the person can look at situations and choose from a set of responses how they think someone would feel in each of them. In hospitality recruitment, being able to read clients and manage one’s own emotions in challenging situations is paramount to hospitality success. But again, is it enough? 

Making good choices

AQ, adaptability, is all about choices. Can a person recognize what’s relevant and pressing? Can they look at a situation holistically, from multiple angles and perspectives? Can they move in the right direction once they see the big picture clearly? Can they unlearn what they’ve known when faced with new information? Do they prioritise learning in their everyday life? 

How do you measure AQ in a potential candidate, then, when it’s about choices they’ve yet to make? You ask them about the choices they would make in hypothetical situations. According to Natalie Fratto, venture investor, asking what if questions is one of the best ways to determine someone’s AQ. 

Can they draw on their creativity when the going gets rough? Can they see roadblocks as opportunities? Can they change directions when it doesn’t make sense to keep moving straight ahead?

Another way to determine AQ is to find out if learning is a routine part of their life. If the person enjoys learning, chances are they enjoy challenging themselves and examining new ways of thinking and understanding the world. If they like exploring, travelling, and can go with the flow, they’ll likely be able to adapt in a work situation as well. 


Hire for adaptability

All in all, if you’re looking to hire in hospitality management, it would be good to know how people measure up in each of these quotients: intelligence, emotional awareness, and adaptiveness. Each takes into account a different aspect of a person’s qualities, but if you find someone with a high ability in all three, you’ll have a distinct advantage, as this person will be flexible, intelligent, and compassionate in the choices they make. 

They’ll certainly be a merit to your team and workplace. 

That said, if you find someone with a high AQ, it’s likely they’ll possess the other qualities as well, because it’s difficult to adapt to varied and complicated situations without a certain level of intellect and emotional cognizance to begin with. The ability to adapt, in the current climate and speed of this ever-morphing world, is really non-negotiable in the hiring landscape.