Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

Interview Questions

Emotional Intelligence interview questions offer you the opportunity to recruit job candidates efficiently during the interview stage of your hiring process. It is of paramount importance to choose the right EQ interview question in order to find the best fit for the vacant position who will integrate well within the company’s culture and atmosphere.

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Why test candidates for emotional intelligence:

An employee’s performance is governed by many factors, one of them being their Emotional Intelligence or Emotional Quotient (EQ). EQ plays a significant role in determining whether a candidate is the best fit for the position they have applied for and this is in turn, gives employers and hiring managers a better understanding of a candidate’s ability to:

  • Be conscious of their emotions and of the people surrounding them.
  • Acknowledge and control their behavior.
  • And regulate their emotions to suit different environments and situations.

These features are extremely important in deciding if a candidate will be hired successfully. This is because employees who possess high emotional and social intelligence levels are able to:

  • Communicate and collaborate well with other team members.
  • Adopt an open and straight-to-the-point communication style
  • And be flexible and adapt to changing and fast-paced environments.

Recruiters and employers should evaluate emotional intelligence by asking questions that are relevant to the vacant job position being hired for. For instance, a salesperson with high emotional intelligence levels would be able to tolerate their own frustration when a customer complains to them by understanding that it is not personal or directed towards them. Additionally, a developer who has a high EQ understands not to be upset when they receive criticism from their colleagues in regards to the code that they developed because it is for their advantage and the goal of this criticism is to make their code with no bugs and better than before.

There are some emotional qualities that are essential to be present in all members of a team, regardless of the role they have in the team. It is highly desirable for all members of a team to possess emotionally intelligent individuals who have a natural empathy for how other people feel, which makes them succeed and thrive in a team environment. This is because they are able to build and develop relationships that are based in trust and effective communication with their coworkers and customers. They also acknowledge that they have their strong and weak personality features, which translates to them being more open and flexible to receiving criticism from their coworkers and teammates compared to other individuals with lower levels of social and emotional intelligence.

It is a good idea to add an emotional intelligence assessment to your first or second-stage interview process by asking some of the questions found below:

Emotional Intelligence Interview questions:

  • Describe a situation at work when you had an ethical dilemma. How did you react to it and what was the outcome?
  • Recall a time when someone offered criticism about your work. What was your answer and what is something you learned from this experience?
  • What are the steps that you would take to settle a disagreement between two work colleagues? 
  • If one of our customers called and complained about the price of a product/service that was too expensive, how would you respond to handle this situation?
  • Tell me about a time when you had a conflict or a disagreement with your supervisor. 

How to evaluate candidates’ emotional intelligence:

  • Allow some time for your candidates to think and recall an experience or incident from their personal experience. Or, offer a hypothetical scenario to see how they’d react. However, be sure to choose an incident that they will most likely come across if they were to get hired. Additionally, if your candidate(s) mentioned a previous experience, you could use that to ask them follow-up questions so they could elaborate and offer the full picture of their experience. If required, you could ask more questions such as;
  1. “What was your coworker’s response when you said that?”
  2. “Did your relationship with your supervisor change ? How was it affected?”
  3. Or “did you go through a similar situation with a different client”?
  • Make sure to observe your candidates’ reactions and their body language when they answer your questions. Do they showcase unhappiness when mentioning the negative experiences they have been through such as a negative criticism from their manager, or do they provide examples on how they got better as a result of the feedback they received.
  •  Adjust your questions to specific scenarios that can be applied to how your company operated. Additionally, different roles require various levels of emotional intelligence skills and can matter more than other skills. For instance, a salesperson should react to client complaints and their indifference can be perceived as a lack of motivation and giving up. However, for a social media coordinator position, their immediate reaction to a bad comment can be viewed as something negative and therefore, taking the time to reach out to the person who commented and solve any issues discreetly, might be the most appropriate way.
  • Apply the candidates’ answers into real work experiences. For example, ignoring conflicts and remaining indifferent, can be perceived as an advantageous trait to have in some cases. On the other hand, in a professional team environment, it can indicate suppressing emotions and this could be an issue in the long run as it may disrupt collaboration and cause a decrease in performance levels.

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