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Effect of emotional intelligence on commercial skills

During my Psychology degree at Erasmus University I researched the effect of emotional intelligence (EI) on commercial skills by conducting a webcam test. A summary of my findings appears in this blog. A key finding was that two aspects of emotional intelligence can predict commercial skills. The Commercial webcam test proved to be reliable.

Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence consists of four dimensions:

  • Regulation of emotions,
  • Assessment of personal emotions,
  • Use of emotions, and
  • Assessment of the emotions of others.

Emotional Intelligence plays a role in commercial jobs with frequent customer contact, such as sales managers, marketing staff and the sales force.

The predictive value of emotional intelligence

In recent years much research has been conducted on the projection of performance in commercial positions. General intelligence and personal traits such as Extraversion and Conscientiousness go hand in hand with performance in commercial functions. I researched the predictive values of Emotional Intelligence in my Masters’ thesis; do people with a high level of Emotional Intelligence possess better commercial skills than people with a low Emotional Intelligence?

Webcam test measures commercial competences

I made use of a webcam test – developed by Ixly and incorporated in the Test-Toolkit – to measure commercial skills. The webcam test I used during my research was the DR Commercieel. This webcam test makes use of short film fragments in which work-related situations are presented. The candidate provides a direct response to the person who appears in the fragment.

Prediction of commercial competences

During my research, I discovered that Use of emotions and Regulation of emotions were predictors of commercial skills. Careful regulation of personal emotions and use of personal emotions are the gateway to better commercial skills.
These results confirm the plausibility of recruiting staff in commercial functions with a well-developed emotional intelligence. Staff with a high level of emotional intelligence will possess strong commercial skills. Being in possession of a solid commercial skill-set leads in turn to a solid working performance!
BUT another important outcome of my research was the moderating role that verbal intelligence plays in the relationship between the Regulation of emotions dimension and commercial skills. People who are verbally intelligent will possess strong commercial skills, irrespective of their score in the Regulation of emotions dimension. So don’t only select people for their emotional intelligence, but consider their verbal intelligence as well.

However, people who are verbally less intelligent and have difficulty in regulating their own emotions are likely to be less competent from a commercial point of view. In practice this outcome suggests that it is not plausible to recruit staff for commercial positions with a low level of verbal intelligence as well as a low level of emotional intelligence. My research also indicated that verbal intelligence has a moderating influence on the relationship between the Assessment of personal emotions dimension and commercial skills. People with a low level of verbal intelligence possess a strong commercial skill-set as soon as they are able to identify and assess their own emotions. The findings suggest that emotional intelligence plays a role primarily with people with a lower level of verbal intelligence. People who are verbally challenged can be commercially strong if they are able to assess their own emotions. In practice these findings suggest that it is not plausible to only select staff in commercial positions with a high level of verbal intelligence. Staff with a low level of verbal intelligence can also possess strong commercial skills so long as their emotional intelligence is at a high enough level.


It also became apparent that the level of reliability of the DR Commercieel can be assessed as high. If you are looking for candidates with a strong commercial skill-set, DR Commercieel offers insight into the quality of candidates in a reliable manner. The relationship formed between emotional intelligence and commercial skills also endorses the validity of the webcam test.