Employing Talent – 5 Pillars of Emotional Intelligence & Interview Questions

“We are dangerous when we are not conscious of our responsibility for how we behave, think, and feel” – Marshall B. Rosenberg

Emotional Intelligence is defined as the capacity to be aware of, control, and express ones emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically. Emotional intelligence is the key to both personal and professional success.

So, what does emotional intelligence have to do with business and how should we appreciate emotional intelligence when hiring talent? 

The term ‘talent’ is becoming a familiar word used within business today. We have written many blogs and created content on talent (click here to view this content)

Emotional Intelligence is an innate soft skill that lends hiring managers and employer’s insight into a candidate’s potential leadership capabilities ad also showcases their ability to relate to employers, clients and team members using empathy. This type of candidate will generally have a higher retainment rate of clients, are proven performers and are magnets for other high potential talent. Hiring people who are emotionally intelligence are natural leaders who others will want to follow. 

The difference between a candidate who has a high IQ and a candidate who has a high EQ is that the IQ candidate will be book smart, they often have a harder time learning from their mistakes. Although typically achieving career wins, they link failure to other people and events.

EQ Candidates are self-aware, they respect and know their strengths and weaknesses. EQ candidates will have the motivation to better themselves and know how to better themselves. These candidates are on a journey, a personal journey where they will do everything they need to in order to be happy with the person that they are.

Respectfully, there is a list of hard skills that candidates will need in order to meet business needs. The dream candidate will have a high EQ and IQ, but how do we find out who these candidates are?

The Five Pillars of Emotional Intelligence

As Daniel Goleman wrote in his books “Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More than IQ” and “Working with Emotional Intelligence” there are five distinct categories, or pillars, of Emotional Intelligence: 

1. Self-Awareness

An emotionally intelligent person understands their own strengths and weaknesses, as well as how to act accordingly. This quality brings out confidence, without materializing over-confidence or on the other hand, low self-esteem. People with a high EQ handle criticism better, and can use their EQ to better introspect and enhance their lives.

If a person has a healthy sense of self- awareness, they understand their own strengths and weaknesses, as well as how their actions affect others. A person who is self-aware is usually better able to handle and learn from constructive criticism than one who is not.

2. Self-Regulation

To live without feeling is death. To live engulfed by feeling is infancy. An emotionally intelligent person can restrain and control their feelings and emotions appropriately for different situations. This is not the same as hiding or burying feelings inside. A person with a high EQ can healthily express their emotion with restraint and control.

3. Motivation

Motivation is one of the biggest influences on both one’s career and life in general. Healthy self-motivation can lead to better reactions to failures and disappointments, facing them with optimism and perseverance.

Emotionally intelligent people are self- motivated. They're not motivated simply by money or a title. They are usually resilient and optimistic when they encounter disappointment and driven by an inner ambition

4. Empathy

A healthy amount of empathy can improve one’s life quality significantly, allowing better connections to people on an emotional level. Newer business studies also suggest that leaders with better empathy and serving natures build stronger and more sustainable leadership.

A person who has empathy has compassion and an understanding of human nature that allows him to connect with other people on an emotional level. The ability to empathize allows a person to provide great service and respond genuinely to others’ concerns.

5. People Skills

A person with good people skills enjoys being around others. They are also likable by others. Connections to and communication with other human beings are among the main fundamentals of happiness.

People who are emotionally intelligent are able to build rapport and trust quickly with others on their teams. They avoid power struggles and backstabbing. This type of person will have the respect of others within their team, because they would have earned it.

Interview Questions – Are You Emotionally Intelligent?

“What really matters for success, character, happiness and lifelong achievements is a definite set of emotional skills – your EQ- not just purely cognitive abilities that are measured by conventional IQ tests” – Daniel Goleman 

As we can see above, emotional intelligence involves self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills. Emotional intelligence is a complicated amalgam that is a lot more difficult to test in comparison to hard skills like payroll, sales etc.. Many hiring managers and employers will rely on gut instinct and subjective impressions when they are interviewing and looking for ques of emotional intelligence. 

When focussing on internal recruitment for WhiteCollarBlue, I focus a section of my screening questions on emotional intelligence and more often than not, I get responses like “wow, I have never been asked this question before”, complete silence OR, my favourite is when people hang up the phone. These are the people that haven’t been faced with these questions before, these candidates are at the lower scale of emotional intelligent.

We have listed 5 great questions to ask in an interview to find out a candidate’s emotional intelligence.

1. “What bothers you most about other people?”

Asking this question will give you insight on how your candidate perceives other people and how well they understand the effect of their behaviour on other people.

2. “Tell me about a day where everything went wrong”

Listen for evidence of any sure-fire coping mechanisms. As a hiring manager or employer, you want to hire someone who has flexibility to deal with the uncertain and unpredictable situations. This is the hallmark of emotional intelligence.

3. “Tell me about a colleague you really got along with in a past position and why you think you got along with them so well”

The relationships that people build with others can tell you a lot. What was the motive behind the connection? Dig into the relationship. 

4. “What’s something that you can teach me”

This can really set a candidate off guard, but in a good way. Ask questions that indicate your lack of understanding and really press for details within the explanation. How do they go about this question?

5. “Tell me about someone that you admire and why”

Consciously or otherwise, we tend to model some of our behaviours after those we admire. Ask your candidate to reflect on that. Is the object of their admiration a "people person," someone who inspires and encourages others, or more of a tactical thinker who's better left down in the weeds, working things out on their own? There are no categorically wrong answers here, and sometimes the person a candidate says they admire reflects attributes they wish they possessed, not those they do.

Are you an employer or hiring manager that struggles to uncover the difference between high IQ and high EQ? Do you have the need for talent within your business, though you are unsure on how to target your interview questions to uncover emotionally intelligent candidates?

As HR Solution Providers, the team at WhiteCollarBlue have the skills to uncover what drives, pushes and motivated candidates. With an incredible team of Talent Acquisition Specialists – we work closely with businesses across Australia to find talent who are looking for longevity, continuity and also careers.

Let us help you.

Contact us today to find out how we can add talent to your team while saving you time, energy and the frustration of screening candidates, booking interviews and having to let people know they aren’t successful for the role.

Ask yourself this question, what is your time worth?

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