Why is everyone talking about EQ?
People who have developed their emotional intelligence (EQ) enjoy more success in every area of life: social, emotional, physical, and financial. This is because life almost always involves interacting in some way with other people, and high EQ people just make each interaction more satisfying for everyone.
Why is my EQ important when job hunting?
People who are low in emotional intelligence don’t know how to manage their own emotions. And they don’t know how to read emotions in others. We see this in employees who struggle to deal with stress, overcome obstacles and resolve conflict, or who fail to meet the needs of colleagues and clients.
You’ve got limited time when interviewing for a job and it isn’t easy for a recruiter to assess your emotional intelligence. But with a good interview question or two and the knowledge of what good and bad responses sound like, you can identify whether someone can move past negative feelings including anger, and doubt, or if they are generally supple, hopeful, self-assured, empathic, congenial and more.
It’s good to know that not all jobs require the same levels of emotional intelligence. Research shows that in certain jobs, having higher emotional intelligence is actually linked with lower job performance. The determining factor in whether emotional intelligence is positively or negatively related to job performance is called “emotional labor.” You can actually test this for yourself using a free online quiz.
Here are a couple of interview questions to test emotional intelligence along with some answers the questions generated.
Could you tell me about a time you made a mistake at work?
You won’t hear people low in emotional intelligence take much responsibility for their mistakes. Hiring Managers want to hire candidates who know that it’s OK to make mistakes as long as they acknowledge the error, make corrections, help others to avoid making similar errors and move on. It should be easy to differentiate the good answer from the bad answer in the following real-life responses
Response No. 1: I was told I prepared a client’s insurance renewal incorrectly, but I had done it that way before and no one ever said anything. After some investigation, I learned that the proper instructions were never written down anywhere and the person that instructed me to do it that way was no longer with the company. It upset me and from that point on I always protected myself so I never got blamed for someone else’s mistake again.
Response No. 2: There was a problem on our client’s renewal program and I requested an investigation on how we were receiving data from the insurance company. It took a few hour of talking with the underwriter to fix the problem but during this time I learned that coding in our system could have fixed the problem and minimized the impact of lost production. I made a hasty decision in response to feeling overwhelmed in the moment. I felt embarrassed to have failed to access all solutions and expertise available to me, but I learned a lot from the experience.
Could you tell me about a time you got tough feedback from your boss?
Emotionally intelligent people are self-aware, self-confident and open-minded; they have a thick skin that allows them to receive and positively utilize critical feedback. People with low emotional intelligence typically get offended or defensive when presented with tough feedback. It’s not hard to identify the two in the following examples of real-life answers to this interview question:
Response No. 1: My boss bushwhacked me with a negative comment about my behavior. I confronted her about it and she was unable to give me examples of when this occurred so the issue was dropped. I was livid about this and felt that it should have been removed from my performance review because it was unsubstantiated.
Response No. 2: After spending substantial time preparing to lead a training session, my manager told me I went into too much detail and didn’t keep the presentation at a high enough level. The feedback came as a surprise, and I was disappointed, but it was valuable information. I had failed to build the training session to the audience and curb some of the unnecessary detail, and I corrected this in future sessions.
It’s also important on how you respond. Do you rush in with the first thing that comes to mind, or do you take some time to answer tough questions, and how comfortable are you with a little silence?
People with good emotional intelligence also tend to have a well-developed emotional vocabulary. Everyone experiences emotions, but not everyone can accurately identify them when they occur. Pay attention to how you use specific words like “discouraged,” “anxious,” “energized,” and “amazed” to communicate how you felt. Your word choice can provide insight how you were feeling, how others felt, what caused a situation, and how this understanding directed you to act.
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