2 interview questions to test whether candidates have emotional intelligence

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Forty-six percent of new hires will fail within 18 months of being hired. Eighty-nine percent of the time it’s for attitude, and low emotional intelligence is the second most common reason they fail.

People with low emotional intelligence don’t understand or know how to deal with their own emotions. And they don’t know how to read emotions in other people. We see it in employees who struggle to manage stress, overcome obstacles and resolve conflicts, or who fail to meet the needs of colleagues and clients, are negative, blameworthy, empowered, procrastinating, resistant to change, too. sensitive or kings and queens of the drama. And that’s just to start.

You have little time to interview candidates and it is not easy to assess emotional intelligence. But with a good interview question or two, and knowing what the right and wrong answers look like, you can determine if someone can overcome negative feelings, including anger, doubt, and anxiety. or if he’s generally flexible, upbeat, confident, empathetic, likeable, and more.

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Interestingly, not all jobs require the same level of emotional intelligence. Research shows that in some jobs, higher emotional intelligence actually correlates with lower job performance. The determining factor in whether emotional intelligence is positively or negatively related to job performance is called “emotional labor”. You can test this for yourself in the online quiz “Does your job require high or low emotional intelligence?” “

Here are two interview questions to test emotional intelligence, along with actual answers to the questions generated. These questions aim to reveal the truth about emotional intelligence, as they are structured as non-oriented and open-ended behavioral questions.

Question # 1: Can you tell me about a time you made a mistake at work?

You won’t hear people with low emotional intelligence take responsibility for their mistakes. The people you want to hire know it’s okay to make mistakes as long as they recognize the mistake, make corrections, help others avoid making similar mistakes, and move on. It should be easy to differentiate the correct answer from the wrong answer in the following actual answers:

• Answer # 1: I was told that I generated a customer report incorrectly, but I had done it this way before and no one ever said anything. After some research, I learned that the proper instructions were never written anywhere, and the person who asked me to do it this way was no longer with the company. It drove me crazy and from that point on I always protected myself so that I would never be blamed for someone else’s mistake again.

• Answer n ° 2: There was a problem on the production line and I ordered the entire system to be shut down. It took hours to fix, during which time I learned that a peer of mine could have fixed the problem and minimized the impact of lost production. I made a hasty decision in response to feeling overwhelmed in the moment. I felt embarrassed that I didn’t have access to all the solutions and expertise available to me, but I learned a lot from the experience.

Question # 2: Can you tell me about a time when you had tough feedback from your boss?

Emotionally intelligent people are self-aware, confident and open-minded; they have thick skin that enables them to receive and use critical feedback positively. People with low emotional intelligence are usually offended or defensive when they receive difficult comments. It is not difficult to identify the two in the following examples of actual answers to this interview question:

• Answer # 1: My boss blinded me with a negative comment about my behavior. I confronted him about it and he couldn’t give me any examples of where this happened so the issue was dropped. I was furious about it and felt it should have been removed from my performance review because it was unfounded.

• Answer # 2: After spending a lot of time preparing to conduct a training session, my manager told me that I had gone into too much detail and had not kept up with the presentation to a sufficiently high level. The feedback was a surprise and I was disappointed, but it was invaluable information. I had failed to build the training session for the audience and limit some unnecessary detail, and corrected this in future sessions.

You can use these questions in your own interviews or research situations where emotional intelligence (or lack thereof) is showing up in your organization to create new questions.

It is also important to listen to how candidates react. Do they rush with the first thing that comes to their mind, or do they take time to answer difficult questions, and how comfortable are they in that silence? People with good emotional intelligence also tend to have well-developed emotional vocabulary. Everyone experiences emotions, but not everyone can accurately identify them when they arise. Note whether candidates say they feel “good” or “bad” or if they use more specific words like “frustrated”, “anxious”, “excited” and “surprised” to express their feelings. A candidate’s choice of words can give a good idea of ​​their understanding of what they were feeling, what others were feeling, the cause of a situation, and how that understanding prompted them to act. .

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Mark Murphy is a NY Times bestseller, author of Hiring For Attitude and founder of leadership training company Leadership IQ.


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