Interviewing for Emotional Intelligence | Understanding How Much an Employee Can Handle


In a standard workplace, skills and talent can be rendered ineffective if an employee is lacking in emotional intelligence, or the ability to identify and handle one’s own emotions and interact with others appropriately. The human aspect is very real, even in a business setting. A strong technical performer who can’t get along with others or who breaks down during stressful situations ends up becoming a hindrance instead of an asset.

Understand how much an employee can handle by assessing candidates on these key traits of emotional intelligence


One of the foundational aspects of emotional intelligence is mindfulness about one’s own feelings and how they impact their actions. When interviewing candidates, ask questions that uncover their level of self-awareness, such as what type of negative feedback they have received in the past and how they handled it. People lacking in emotional intelligence tend to have a hard time being able to take constructive criticism without getting defensive because they are not open to examining their own shortcomings.

Moving On From Mistakes

Top performers aren’t the employees who never make mistakes – they are the ones who can objectively assess their role in the negative outcome and grow from it. Employees who lack emotional intelligence tend to place blame on others or make excuses that reduce their responsibility when mistakes arise. Request that candidates detail a time in which they made a mistake, including how/why it occurred and what lessons they learned. How candidates describe their past mistakes will indicate their emotional intelligence levels.

Empathizing with Others

The workplace is filled with a variety of personalities, which can lead to misunderstandings and conflict when there is a lack of emotional intelligence. Someone who is emotionally intelligent can spot the subtle signs of when they’ve upset someone and adjust their behavior as needed to prevent interpersonal issues. To determine if a candidate is able to empathize with other people, ask them to talk about a time in which they may have negatively impacted someone in the workplace and what they did to resolve it (if they were able to identify it on their own versus having someone point it out to them first).

Find emotionally intelligent candidates with the right qualifications to join your team with the help of Spectrum Staffing Services. We offer a range of staffing and recruitment services, from temporary to direct placement. For over 25 years, we have been serving clients nationwide with their hiring needs.  Contact Spectrum today to learn more about our staffing and recruitment services.

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