Emotional Intelligence Interview Questions

Use emotional intelligence (EQ) questions to find empathetic candidates who will fit your company culture.

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Why emotional intelligence is so important

Emotional Intelligence (or Emotional Quotient/EQ) is super important to employee performance. EQ interview questions help recruiters and hiring managers figure out how candidates regulate their behavior, manage their emotions and how self-aware they are.

The ultimate EQ candidate is naturally empathetic, a great team player, aces open communication and teamwork and adapts well to change. From managing frustration of clients’ complaints to welcoming negative feedback, EQ candidates are ace at making friends and focusing on improvement.

Emotional intelligence interview questions

  • What would you do if you faced an ethical dilemma at work? Do you have an example?
  • How do you respond to critical feedback? Do you have experience of that? What did you learn?
  • How would you mediate colleague tension?
  • How would you handle a customer complaint?
  • Have you ever had a disagreement with your supervisor? What happened?

How to ace emotional intelligence interview questions

  • Ask for experience: The best answers will come from personal experience. Give your candidates time to think. If they don’t have an example, ask a hypothetical scenario related to the role. Ask follow-up questions to dig deeper. 
  • Pay attention to body language: You can gain a lot from watching how candidates’ body language when they tell stories. If they seem annoyed or unhappy about negative feedback, they might not be that self-aware after all. 
  • Tailor your questions: Different roles need different EQ levels. Think about what reaction the role itself would need and tailor your questions to match. 
  • Think on it: Whatever answer your candidate gives, think about how that would translate into real work experiences. 

Candidates to avoid

  • Quick, generic answers: If a candidate can’t dig deep on a specific situation, they’re probably trying to avoid answering the question. Likewise, short answers like “I stay calm under pressure” indicate they’re not very thoughtful.
  • Critical candidates: Avoid candidates who criticize others. They may lack self assessment skills and avoid taking accountability for their actions. 
  • Contradictory body language: If they’re uncomfortable or demonstrate poor impulse control, they probably don’t perform well under stressful situations.

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