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Intelligence Myths

It’s common to believe that those with high IQs have an advantage. However, IQ is not always the most important factor in life and career success. Some common myths about intelligence are described here.

Myth 1: Career success can be predicted based on IQ

Career success can’t be predicted based on IQ alone. While a certain IQ may be needed to enter a field like engineering, academic intelligence alone does not equal workplace achievement.

A person may have a lot of intelligence, but be missing some critical skills for success. On the other hand, a person who doesn’t have a very high IQ may have high emotional intelligence, meaning he knows how to work with people. Such a person can move up in his career because he is pleasant to work with and he’s able to motivate those around him to accomplish goals.

Myth 2: The most successful companies hire the “smartest” employees

The fact that a person scores well in a standardized test may not mean she will work well with colleagues. Big companies tend to look for employees with a wide range of skills that can’t be measured by test scores or grades. These skills include conflict management, the ability to handle change, empathy, integrity, and the ability to read others’ emotions and react appropriately. In other words, they’re “people smart” – high in emotional intelligence.

Myth 3: The best job candidate has the highest IQ

Successful companies don’t focus on hiring the “smartest” job candidate. Instead, they look for the employee who demonstrates the skills needed for the job. It’s easy to be misled into thinking that the most intelligent job candidate will be the best fit, but a high IQ doesn’t mean a person will necessarily be skilled at, for example, motivating people in extremely challenging situations.

Emotional intelligence skills are often more important to a good job fit than IQ or academic achievement. Look for the best all-around candidate.