How to Assess Emotional Intelligence During the Interview Process

December 21, 2016

Emotional intelligence has become a much-desired trait to find in new hires. Research has even backed the importance of emotional intelligence (or EQ) in the workplace. According to one study, EQ was found to be the top predictor of job performance from an extensive list of other relevant qualities. However, despite the known value of finding individuals with this competency, hiring managers at most companies do not actively prioritize screening for this trait during the interview process.

If you are looking to implement ways to evaluate the emotional intelligence of job candidates at your company, review these top strategies.

Listen and Watch

No matter what question you ask, you will be able to hear and see at least some level of displayed emotional intelligence. Observing verbal and nonverbal communication is essential to assessing EQ. Does the candidate have a positive attitude? Does he or she practice active listening? Does it appear that the candidate has good professional relationships? By listening and watching for information like this, you can better understand a candidate’s level of emotional intelligence.

Speak with Multiple References

Make sure to ask for references and to follow-up by phone with each one. Schedule 5-10 minutes to have a conversation with each person. Speaking with those who have worked with a candidate provides an overall sense of this person’s behavior, strengths, and weaknesses. Discussions with multiple references will give you the most complete picture of a candidate’s previously demonstrated emotional intelligence (or potential lack thereof).

Ask Interview Questions Related to Emotional Intelligence

One of the best ways to determine a candidate’s level of emotional intelligence is to ask questions like how the candidate reacted under pressure, what they did if they were in conflict with a coworker, or how they resolved work related issues. Ask the potential new hire for specific examples of his or her successes and failures in previous positions, and delve into those examples. Ask multiple follow-up questions to get detail on the examples provided. Encourage the candidate to discuss how he or she handled each situation, and to discuss the impact(s) of each situation on others. By going a few layers deeper, you’ll have a more in-depth idea of how the candidate has used emotional intelligence in real-life situations.

About NextGen

NextGen is the brainchild of longtime telecom professionals with nearly 50 years of experience and millions of dollars in Telecom Recruiting Services. We focus on establishing long term relationships with our clients and candidates so we can recruit the best and the brightest in the telecom industry. This ‘quality over quantity’ approach is at the heart of everything we do and has resulted in successful job placements at Fortune 1000 firms worldwide.

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