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How to test candidates’ emotional intelligence at interview

Written by Guest Author | August 17, 2015 | 1 Comment
interview 3 peopleAs brilliant as the best recruitment software undoubtedly is in enabling you to better manage applications for your vacancies and separate the weak candidates from the strong, there are inevitably certain things that are difficult to assess until the interview stage.

One of those things is emotional intelligence.

Almost anyone who you hire needs to be able to effectively identify and manage both their own and other people’s emotions – certainly, anyone who will have coworkers or customers to deal with.
Do you want your new recruit to be able to react to an irate customer with calm and sensitivity? What about someone who helps to relieve the stress of an anxious or annoyed colleague? Even better is if they can quickly emotionally adapt to completely unexpected challenges.

Interviewing for ‘we, not me’

Candidates who are emotionally intelligent are also more likely to think of their peers rather than simply themselves, and there are various ways during an interview in which you can uncover this.
You could ask the candidate how they got on with their ex-colleagues, for example. Did they build some real friendships among their former coworkers, or do the relationships seem to have been more distant? Did they really value and emphasise with their fellow team members?
What about their past successes? Is the candidate simply referring to what they did brilliantly, or do they give credit where due to certain great people who helped them along the way? If the candidate has thought about others, that’s a great sign of emotional intelligence.
The same goes for how the candidate has dealt with more difficult coworkers or customers in the past – which is particularly important when interviewing for customer-centric roles. Does the candidate talk about how they diffused the situation – even if the customer was very confrontational, rude or angry – and perhaps even achieved a positive outcome?

Great candidates think of others!

Take another look through those suggested interview techniques. They’re all about ascertaining the candidate’s ability to think of other people in various areas of their past work.
A candidate who can emphasise with, relate to and establish great connections with other people – whether they be colleagues, customers or anyone else – is more likely to possess the emotional intelligence that would make them a brilliant hire for your organisation.
So, don’t hesitate to snap them up!

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