The 3 best job interview questions to assess a candidate’s EQ


A lot of great business people are smart, but experts say what really sets top performing players apart from B players isn’t usually IQ. This is the equalizer.

“Most successful professionals thrive in their respective fields because of their EQ, not their IQ,” says my colleague Steve Goldstein. “When you have the IQ to make good intellectual decisions and the IQ to build relationships with those around you, the sky is the limit,” confirms strategy consultant Victor Cheng.

Given this truth, it makes sense to hire people with high emotional intelligence, but how do you assess EQ in an interview? After all, there is no equivalent of an IQ test for social skills, and CVs don’t have a section on being a sensitive and empathetic person.

Former Salesforce executive turned entrepreneur David Priemer believes he has solved this problem. On the MIT Sloan Management Review website, he recently shared three questions that he uses to assess the EQ of any candidate for a job.

1. How to build trust?

Priemer has sales training, so this question was created specifically for salespeople, but trust is just as important for functions ranging from leadership to public relations and marketing.

What should you watch out for when asking questions about trust? To give a consistent response, the candidate must understand the fundamentals of EQ, such as listening, empathizing, and tailoring their behavior to the preferences of others.

“I was particularly impressed by a candidate who told me that even if he went to meetings with lists of questions to ask, he did not expect all of us to be answered,” says Priemer. . Instead, “he listens to what the other person wants to talk about and finds creative ways to get the key information he is looking for.”

2. If you worked for your main competitor, how would you fight?

It’s easy to imagine this curved ball that baffles many candidates, which is the point. Those with exceptional equalization know not only their strengths, but also their weaknesses. If someone can answer this question smoothly, you can bet they’re pretty exceptional in the self-awareness department.

“I have found that this question gives candidates a chance to show their ability to put the good of the organization ahead of their own pride,” adds Priemer.

3. Can you use a belief statement to explain the value of what we are offering?

If you’re not sure what exactly a “belief statement” is in this context, don’t worry. Primer refers to a useful explanation. Nor is it necessarily a red flag if a candidate is unsure of how to express your mission in this way (although they should have done their research and be able to articulate it in this way). more general terms).

“If your company has a goal, a candidate who has prepared for the interview will likely know it. But asking them to recite a line they read somewhere on your website won’t tell you much,” says Priemer. “That’s why I ask people to use a belief statement that gets to the heart of what an organization or a team offers. Use it as an opportunity to see how the candidate thinks through the concept. And, if you offer advice, see how they react to being coached through it. (Curiosity and willingness to learn are good signs of emotional intelligence). “

Do you have any other interview questions to add to this list?

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