How to Show Emotional Intelligence at Interview

Emotional intelligence refers to the capacity to recognise, understand, and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the ability to empathise with and navigate the emotions of others. It encompasses a range of skills and competencies, including self-awareness, self-regulation, social awareness, and relationship management. Individuals with high emotional intelligence are adept at recognising and labelling their emotions, effectively managing stress and impulses, and maintaining a positive outlook.

They possess a keen awareness of social dynamics and can accurately perceive and interpret the emotions and perspectives of those around them. Furthermore, individuals with strong emotional intelligence can skillfully navigate relationships, communicate effectively, resolve conflicts, and build strong interpersonal connections.

As you can see, all invaluable skills in any place of employment. In fact, according to a survey by CareerBuilder, 71% of employers say they place more value on emotional intelligence than IQ, 59% would not hire someone who has a high IQ but low emotional intelligence and 75% are more likely to promote an employee with higher emotional intelligence.

To demonstrate emotional intelligence during an interview:

  • Make sure you actively listen, maintain eye contact, and engage socially. Don’t forget to be sociable and friendly before the interview starts and at the end of the interview.
  • Manage your emotions effectively to show composure and control. This probably sounds easier to say than do but some tips include being fully prepared, controlling your breathing, mentally framing the interview as a conversation and being yourself!
  • Make sure you have thought about appropriate past mistakes to share prior to the interview ready for when they ask you to tell them about a time you experienced failure. How you cope with things that have gone wrong is a strong indication of your emotional intelligence. There are some great examples of types of mistakes you can admit to (and some you most definitely shouldn’t) on The Muse website.
  • Express your feelings and emotions genuinely through your words and tone. Think about what you will say and prepare your answer but don’t sound like you’re reading from a script. Use questions like “Tell me about yourself” and “Why do you want this job?” to show how passionate you are about what you do and about the job opportunity.
  • Ask questions to understand the company culture. By asking to know more about the company culture you will demonstrate an active interest in the motivations and personalities that drive the organization. Some questions you can ask include,
    • What is the best part of working here?
    • What is your process for giving feedback?
    • How do you acknowledge employee success?
    • What is the process for onboarding new employees?

Indeed share further questions you can ask on their website.

  • When responding to interview questions share examples that highlight your emotional intelligence, such as conflict resolution, coaching others, building trust, handling feedback, managing stress, and speaking up.

Don’t forget the aim is to demonstrate that you not only have the educational and experiential qualifications for the role but that you have the intangible qualities that will set you apart from the rest of the candidates. If you’ve done all your preparation and research, you’ll be ready and confident and able to show your best self!

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