Interviewing for Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

We know from research that people who understand and manage their own and others emotions make better work colleagues and leaders. They are able to deal with stress, overcome obstacles, and inspire others to work toward collective goals. They manage conflict with less drama and build stronger teams. Research shows they are generally happier at work too.

One of the reasons we see little emotional intelligence in the workplace is because we do not recruit for it. We hire staff by looking for intellect and therefore we base our decision on brainpower. Obviously, we need smart and experienced people in our organisations, but what is equally important is self-awareness, social skills, empathy, motivation, and able to self-regulate.

We can hire for emotional intelligence and it does not have to be complicated or come at an extra cost to the business. Here are a few simple tips.

Firstly, begin the interview by making the candidate as comfortable as possible, this is to help them relax and answer your questions in a more sincere manner. After asking some standard questions we can move onto asking behavioural questions to assist us in identifying Emotional Intelligence. Example of behavioural questions.

  • Tell me about a time you had a conflict with your supervisor. How did you resolve it?
  • If a customer called to complain that the price of our product/service is too high, how would you handle it?
  • Tell me about a time someone questioned your work. How did you respond and what did you learn?

Pay attention to your applicant’s reactions and body language as they answer your questions. Do they seem angry, unhappy, annoyed when talking about negative feedback and situations or do they describe how they improved as a result of the feedback they received?

You also want to assess them in feel good situations and see how they react when talking about a good experience, so seek to ask positive questions as well, monitor their reaction and body language again as they tell you of a success story.

Referencing is also a simple way of helping to identify a candidate EQ. When we reference, ask specific questions about how the candidate demonstrated various Emotional Intelligence competencies. Specifically, ask for examples of how your candidate treats other people.

Some say Emotional Intelligence is more beneficial for your career than IQ, although others argue IQ matters more. Regardless of which is more important, Emotional Intelligence plays an important role at work (and life). We know from research that Emotionally Intelligent people help businesses grow, promote team unity and can be great choices for leading the company down the road¦ all you have to do is find them.

By Andre Elcham 01/05/2020

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