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The Enneagram In Business
Social Intelligence Hiring ​​

Social Intelligence and Emotional Intelligence
Social Intelligence (SI) and Emotional Intelligence (EQ) are often used interchangeably because both are critical to a person’s ability to function effectively in a world of work. EQ more often refers to an individual’s self: self-awareness, self-acceptance, and self-management; SI connotes the social interaction aspect of EQ: empathy and reading social cues and being able to respond to them effectively. Without high EQ, it is near impossible to have high SI and vice versa.

Why do SI and EQ matter at work?

Research has shown for over three decades that the ability to know and accept yourself and to be self-managing and developing (EQ), as well as the ability to work effectively with a wide variety of other people (SI) are greater predictors of success at work across the globe, no matter what the occupation, industry or organizational level, than are traditional IQ or prior experience.


What's the costs of a 'wrong' hire?

The cost of a “wrong” or “bad” hire depends on what factors you are using for your calculation.

Certainly, there is the time involvement and stress on managers, HR professionals, and co-workers, the cost of which is hard to determine. But here are some staggering and possibly conservative financial statistics on what happens when organizations hire someone who does not work out well.

Tony Hersh (CEO of Zappos)
According to Fast Company, Tony Hersh reports that “past bad hires have cost his company ‘well over 100 million’ dollars.”


Matt Ferguson (CEO CareerBuilder)

“27% of U.S. employers said just one bad hire cost their company more than $50,000 due to missed sales opportunities, strained client and employee relations, potential legal issues, and resources to hire and train candidates”.


US Department of Labor
“Average cost of bad hiring decision = 30% of an individual’s first-year earnings”


On Social Intelligence Hiring and ‘Wrong’ Hires
At every Social Intelligence Hiring event that we have ever done (and they are now in the double digits), there
has always been one or more candidates that managers say they would have absolutely hired based on resume, technical skills, and/or interviewing ability. However, once that person was observed in interaction with other people for a full day, without exception managers realized that person would have been an “absolute disaster” if hired.


What was observed:


  1. Candidates treating hiring managers with respect, but acting blatantly dismissive to support staff, non-hiring managers and/or other candidates.

  2. Candidates who said they had a high level of skill and experience, but could not demonstrate those at any time during the day when given the opportunity.

  3. Potential hires who negatively dominated team activities, while consistently shutting down ideas from other team members.

  4. Potential hires who, through conversation or observed behavior, demonstrated a serious lack of respect for diversity based on race, gender or other factors.

  5. Candidates who appeared to be insufficiently stable that they could not handle the stress of engaging with others for a full day.


Social Intelligence Hiring greatly reduces the chance of a “wrong” hire.



Social Intelligence Hiring (SIH) Process


  • 6-step hiring process

  • For organizations that need to hire large numbers of great employees at all levels

  • Recruit candidates

  • Meet candidates | short social events

  • Train observers (managers)

  • Conduct Social Intelligence Hiring Day (SIH)

  • Review all candidates and make decisions

  • Make job offers and give all candidates feedback



Social Intelligence Hiring and the Enneagram


  • 3 months from start to finish

  • Social intelligence is the most important ingredient to organizational success

  • Self-awareness

  • Emotional maturity

  • Resilience

  • Creativity

  • Influencing skills

  • Effectiveness on teams



Skills versus SI and EQ
Skills also matter, but without SI and EQ, most skilled employees fail. Research by author Mark Murphy (“Hiring for Attitude”) using 20,000 new hires showed that 46% failed within 18 months; 89% failed due to “attitude,” while only 11% failed due to lack of skill.


The Enneagram and SI and EQ
The Enneagram is an insightful way to assess SI and EQ, as a well as a 
remarkable approach for increasing both. Prior to Social Intelligence Hiring (SIH) assessment days, we train the organization’s managers in the Enneagram, an ancient and powerful 9-type system, each with its own worldview, motivational drives, and patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving.


During Social Intelligence Hiring, all candidates are given a basic introduction to the Enneagram so they can do an initial identification of their own types, and throughout this self-typing process and for the rest of the day, candidates are observed by managers.


Candidates’ types are not used as a basis for hiring because type has no correlation to skills. However, candidates are observed for their level of self-awareness, self-disclosure, listening skills, and level of self-mastery within their self-identified type.


Even if the Enneagram isn’t to their liking – and there is no penalty for this – candidates are asked to discuss what they do use for their self-development!






  1. Ones: Seek a perfect world and work diligently to improve firstly themselves and then everyone and everything in their circle of influence.

  2. Twos: Really want to be liked. They try to meet the needs of others and attempt to orchestrate the people and events in their lives.

  3. Threes: Organize their lives to achieve specific goals and to appear successful in order to gain the respect and admiration of others.

  4. Fours: Desire deep connections both with self and others, and they feel the most alive when they authentically express their feelings.

  5. Fives: Thirst for information and knowledge and use emotional detachment as a way of keeping involvement with others to a minimum.

  6. Sixes: Have insightful minds, are prone to worry, and create anticipatory scenarios to feel prepared in case something goes wrong.

  7. Sevens: Crave stimulation (ideas, people, and experiences), avoid pain, and create elaborate future plans to keep all their options open.

  8. Eights: Pursue the truth, like to keep situations under control, want to make important things happen, and try to hide their vulnerability.

  9. Nines: Seek peace, harmony, and positive mutual regard and dislike conflict, tension, and ill will.



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