6 Interview Questions That Identify a Candidate’s Emotional Intelligence

6 Interview Questions That Identify a Candidate’s Emotional Intelligence

Though times are slowly changing, skill and work experience-based questions are still considered the most important for managers and those working in the recruitment industry.

After all, without skills or experience, an employee isn’t really much good to you, are they?

Still, most who’re selected for an interview will be able to check most of the boxes when it comes to their education and previous experience.

However, emotional intelligence is really the one quality we should all be looking for instead. This is a set of life and judgement skills that most all poor prospects are very good at hiding — until they’ve been hired and passed their probationary period!

Once the wedding period is over with an employee, it becomes exceedingly harder to terminate them because of issues related to emotional intelligence.

At the best of times, you’re stuck with an unmotivated, lazy employee that doesn’t care about the quality of their work — or getting work done period! At the worst, you could have a disruptive, unfriendly, unhelpful employee who causes nothing but chaos.

Here’s 6 questions you can ask interviewees to help determine their level of emotional intelligence and maturity:

1. Who inspires you and why?

This is the top question to ask for the purpose of seeing who the prospect admires and seeks to emulate. If they say Justin Bieber, it might be best to run the other way. If they say Donald Trump, Ghandi, Mother Teresa, etc., etc., it’s worth moving onto the next question.

2. If you were starting a company tomorrow, what would be your top three values?

Values like hard work, trust and integrity should be among the answers you hear. Sadly, while this question should be asked, it’s a given that most will just tell you what you want to hear. This is just a reference question to weigh in conjunction with the others to get to the stone cold truth.

3. Did you build lasting friendships while working at another job?

This question is very effective at identifying people who aren’t a team player. Make sure to be very pointed about this question — ask for details.

  • What was the person’s name?
  • Did you spend time outside of work with each other?
  • Tell me what you value most about your current relationship with them?

It can take a while for a lasting relationship between coworkers to develop. If they tell you they don’t believe in mixing business with pleasure, or can’t think of a single work friend they’ve ever had, they’re most likely not going to fit in with a friendly, inviting-type work culture that values communication and support.

4. What skill or expertise do you feel like you’re still missing?

The answer isn’t so much as important as the fact that the candidate is ready and willing to answer it. Someone who knows they have shortcomings and also has a desire to fill in those perceived gaps is someone who possesses enough emotional intelligence to realize they don’t know it all.

Those with a know-it-all attitude will find it hard to answer this question, even to the point of telling you they think they’re a perfect professional and you should hire them ASAP.

5. Can you teach me something, as if I’ve never heard of it before?

I think asking a candidate to teach you how to tie your shoelaces is a great question (not to mention it’ll really shake them up and get them thinking!) However, ask them to teach you anything you want, or have them pick the topic.

There are several conclusions you can draw from the interviewee based on their answer:

  • Find out whether they consider the task and their instructions before speaking, or if they just try to rush through it (which shows lack of confidence or impatience).
  • If the candidate has the technical ability to explain something to a person who is less knowledgeable in the subject.
  • You’ll see if they look for empathetic feedback while teaching someone something new: ie., “Is this making sense?”

6. What are the top 3 secrets to your success thus far?

“I-I-I” and “me-me-me” are great indicators that the candidate isn’t a team player, and likely has an outright narcissistic personality. Not always, but a seasoned team player will naturally give credit to those who’ve surrounded them in life, whether work or personal. Team players understand that nobody can climb Mount Everest without help from others.

Comments Please!

Can you think of a better question or question to ask a prospective employee to determine their emotional intelligence?


Main Image Credit: Quinn Dombrowski/Flickr

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