5 Interview Questions to Assess Emotional Intelligence

People with low levels of emotional intelligence might have difficulty managing relationships and dealing with stress, which could lead to burnout or bigger conflicts down the line. Among employees who fail to meet expectations during their first 18 months on the job, 23% fail due to low emotional intelligence. Some candidates have mastered the ability of seeming emotionally intelligent -- responding instantaneously with practiced, too-good-to-be-true responses to classic interview questions, e.g.: What's your greatest weakness? 5 Interview Questions to Assess Emotional Intelligence 1) Can you tell me about a time you tried to do something and failed? That's not to say negative feedback has no emotional impact on emotionally intelligent employees. Look for a candidate who can specifically describe the feelings they experienced upon receiving negative feedback, e.g.: "At first I was surprised and a little frustrated by my manager's comments on the project, but when I looked deeper into the reasoning behind her comments, I realized that I could have definitely given more attention to several key areas. A response that acknowledges the specific emotions they experienced and shows an empathic understanding of their manager's point of view indicates a high level of emotional awareness. 3) Can you tell me about a conflict at work that made you feel frustrated? Emotionally intelligent people will be able to explain a conflict situation clearly and objectively, giving a specific run down of how they felt at the time, how they managed those feelings, and how they used social cues from those around them to inform their decisions. (social skills) 4) Tell me about a hobby you like to do outside of work.

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Emotional intelligence is more than just a buzzword.

The ability to emphasize with others, build lasting relationships, and manage emotions in a healthy way has been proven time and time again to be one of the biggest indicators of workplace and interpersonal success.

In client-facing roles, emotional intelligence can be the difference between a lasting agency-client relationship and a severed contract. Agencies hiring new employees need to pay close attention to a candidate’s level of emotional intelligence, since it will likely have a big impact on their early success (or failure) on the job.

Emotionally intelligent individuals can more easily adapt to new environments and relate to new colleagues and clients — crucial skills for anyone working at a marketing agency. People with low levels of emotional intelligence might have difficulty managing relationships and dealing with stress, which could lead to burnout or bigger conflicts down the line.

Among employees who fail to meet expectations during their first 18 months on the job, 23% fail due to low emotional intelligence. That’s the second most prevalent reason new hires fail, following only general lack of coachability.

We know gauging a candidate’s emotional intelligence is pivotal when it comes to hiring the best new talent — but can something so complex be sufficiently evaluated in a brief interview setting?

Some candidates have mastered the ability of seeming emotionally intelligent — responding instantaneously with practiced, too-good-to-be-true responses to classic interview questions, e.g.:

What’s your greatest weakness?
Well, I just care too darn much about my work.

To help you sift through the rehearsed responses and dig deeper into a candidate’s real level of emotional intelligence, we’ve put together the following list of interview questions. Learn what to ask below and how to identify an emotionally intelligent response.

5 Interview Questions to Assess Emotional Intelligence

1) Can you tell me about a time you tried to do something and failed?

Asking a candidate to explain a failed project is not only a great way to see how they cope when things don’t go as planned, it’s also an opportunity to see whether or not they’re comfortable taking full responsibility for their actions.

Look for a candidate who can straightforwardly describe a recent failure without shirking the bulk of the blame on other parties or unfortunate circumstances. Even if some external factors played a hand in the mishap, you want a candidate who is comfortable being held fully accountable, and can discuss even the nitty-gritty details of a failed project with fair-minded focus.

Does the candidate seem like they were able to fully bounce back from the issue without getting defensive? Emotionally intelligent individuals possess an inherent self-confidence that can buoy them through setbacks and lets them assess troubling situations objectively, without harsh self-judgment or resorting to outward frustration.

Be wary of candidates who fixate too much on who or what they blame for the failure. When a project doesn’t work out, the key takeaway shouldn’t be based on blame. Emotionally intelligent people know how to move on and examine a situation without bitterness or resentment clouding their judgment.

2) Tell me about a time you received negative feedback from your boss. How did that make you feel?

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