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6 Interview Questions to Test for Emotional Intelligence

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Emotional Intelligence is a Must Have for Many Employers.
Here’s 6 Interview Questions to Test EI:


Emotional intelligence (EI) is defined as 
the capacity to recognise and manage one’s own emotions and the emotions of others. In the context of job roles, emotionally intelligent applicants are highly sought after due to the many positive qualities they display, including self-awareness, empathy, and strong leadership skills.

While it’s clear that EI is great for business, how can employers and recruiters seek out this emotional intelligence at the interview stage in order to secure the best talent for the job?

To make this challenging task easier, we’ve put together six interview questions designed to uncover the emotional intelligence of your candidates.


Question: Describe a time when you were faced with a problem that required an immediate solution.
What it shows: Problem-solving skills

Emotionally intelligent people display the ability to “think on their feet,” using initiative to solve problems quickly and effectively. With this solutions-focused approach, these candidates prefer to take swift action as soon as issues arise rather than risk halting the progress of a job.

Question: Have you ever had to motivate others in order to achieve the best outcome?
What it shows: Effective leadership

A common trait of the emotionally intelligent is the ability to inspire and motivate the people around them. Candidates with a high EQ (emotional quotient) excel at bringing out the best in their colleagues and peers through positive encouragement and leading by example.

Question: Explain how you would find a solution to problem “X” that benefits all parties.
What it shows: Empathy

Emotionally intelligent candidates have no trouble stepping into the shoes of others (hypothetically speaking, of course). As a result, they’re more likely to creatively seek out “win-win” scenarios that provide a positive outcome for everyone involved.

Question: Which of your own personality traits would you most like to change?
What it shows: Self-awareness

You’ll notice that candidates with high emotional intelligence don’t feel the need to deny their negative traits. Rather, they are self-aware and willing to own up to their imperfections. That said, they’ll also be quick to demonstrate the precise measures they’ve taken to alleviate such behaviours.

Question: Tell me about a time when you were faced with a completely unexpected change midway through a project.
What it shows: The ability to remain calm under pressure

If there’s a group of people that can deal with a curveball, it’s candidates with a high level of EI. Their flexible nature means they are quick to adapt to sudden changes, with the ability to take the unexpected coolly in their stride and still deliver a positive result.

Question: Have you ever solved a problem by coming at it from a different angle?
What it shows: Innovative thinking

Emotionally intelligent people thrive on creativity and relish the challenge of dealing with obstacles in an innovative manner. They won’t limit themselves by staying within the confines of traditional methods, preferring to push boundaries and test out new approaches.

Wondering just how emotionally intelligent your candidates are? Ask these six questions in your next recruitment interview to find out!


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