7 Interview Questions to Determine Emotional Intelligence

Choosing someone new to join your team is about more than just finding someone with the right skills and experience. You also want to pick someone who will fit in well with your practice culture and provide your clients with the type of service that will keep them coming back. These latter requirements can be much more challenging to assess, however, especially in the early stages of recruiting. Here are a few expert tips to help determine a candidate’s emotional intelligence (EQ). 

Who is your inspiration and why?

Understanding where an applicant draws inspiration from can help you gain insight into the type of person the candidate models him or herself after. It can also reveal some of the characteristics that the candidate holds in high regard and is therefore likely to possess as well.

If you were to launch your own practice, what would your top 3 values be?

A good cultural fit requires an alignment of core values. While you may not necessarily find a candidate who precisely matches all of your practice’s values right off the bat, this question can help you identify which of your applicants share priorities that most closely align with yours. 

Are you still friends with any of your past colleagues?

Emotional intelligence is one of the fundamentals of relationship building. The answer to this question should provide a glimpse into the whether or not a candidate has been capable of forging strong, lasting connections over the course of his or her career.

Can you share an example of a time when you had to deal with significant change?

The fact is, business priorities will inevitably shift from time to time. How a person handles change can be a strong indicator of their level of emotional intelligence. The ideal candidate will demonstrate flexibility and a positive attitude toward change. 

What skills or expertise do you feel you are lacking?

The desire to learn and grow are essential signs that a prospective team member strives for continuous improvement. If a candidate struggles to answer this question, it could be a red flag that they think they already know everything. This is not the type of employee you want to join your crew.

Can you teach me something I’ve never learned before?

There is a lot of insight to be gleaned from how a candidate answers this question. First, you’ll find out whether the candidate has the ability to break down something complicated or technical so that it’s easy to understand and learn. This is a valuable skill to have. And second, you’ll learn whether the person has empathy, as evidenced through thoughtful questions, like “does this make sense?”

To which 3 factors do you credit your success?

The way a candidate responds to this question can be very telling. For instance, if they speak primarily of their own contributions, it could be indicative that the candidate has a tendency to be selfish. To the contrary, someone who highlights team accomplishments or gives credit to others is likely to be more of a team-player, and certainly a candidate worth considering. 

While your practice may have its own unique culture and values, it requires a certain degree of emotional intelligence in order for your employees to successfully meld to that culture and embody those values. Knowing which questions to ask right from the start can help you pinpoint only the candidates who would be the perfect fit for your team.

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