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Two young employees sitting across from an older gentleman at a cafe who looks to be interviewing for a job.

There’s a lot riding on a job interview — for the candidate and the employer. Both parties need to evaluate whether or not the candidate will be a good fit for the position and the organization, which is always easier said than done.

Even defining the term “fit” can be difficult. In the end, it comes down to one aspect over anything else — emotional intelligence. Here’s what you need to know about what emotional intelligence is and how you can leverage it in every step of the hiring process.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

According to Psychology Today, emotional intelligence is the “ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others.” Specifically, it captures three personality elements:

    • Recognizing your own strengths and weaknesses
    • Applying those traits to problem solving and critical thinking
    • Controlling your emotions and responding to the emotions of others

Individuals certainly have emotional intelligence, but organizations have it, too. Every company has strengths and weaknesses, and every team has its own dynamic. It’s important for both parties to understand each other in order to have a successful hire.

Measuring Emotional Intelligence

A good set of interview questions and the right employment tests can help you cut through the noise to determine a candidate’s true personality and how they will fit with your company.

Emotional intelligence-focused interview questions should ask candidates to assess both positive and negative emotion and they handled themselves in each situation.

Interested in learning more about Emotional Intelligence? Check out this masterclass from PositivePsychology.com..

Ask about a mistake a candidate made at work, including how they dealt with the situation and how they felt about it. On the positive side, ask about a time when the candidate motivated someone else or helped a colleague who was having a bad day.

Another good strategy for measuring emotional intelligence through interview questions is to ask about how candidates overcome obstacles at work and challenges they’ve overcome to get the job done. These responses should speak to someone’s level of persistence, resilience, and mental toughness.

Going Beyond Interview Questions

A candidate’s answers to emotional intelligence questions often do not tell the whole story. As they are answering, watch their body language for signs that they are not confident in their responses. Lack of eye contact and slouching posture — especially in the face of tough questions — could mean a lack of confidence or an inability to relate to others.

Another sign of emotional intelligence is the way that the candidate “reads” the interview room. Do they attempt to get to know the hiring committee or make small talk before the interview starts? It might seem like something small, but some of the behaviors exhibited during the interview are likely to carry over into what that person is like at the office.

Each person on your hiring team is likely to have a different view of these responses. Consider utilizing a candidate scorecard to give everyone the same rubric on which to base their feedback.

No matter how many questions you ask, you are not going to cover every facet of emotional intelligence during an interview. Consider adding an emotional intelligence test to your hiring process for an even deeper understanding of how a candidate will fit with your organization.

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Find (and keep) your next Million Dollar Hire!

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