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Operations: 5 Questions that Gauge Emotional Intelligence

emotional intelligence

Last week I discussed why some businesses use behavioral and personality assessments in order to make objective hiring or promotion decisions. This week, I’d like to discuss that in addition to personality traits, another factor you should consider in prospective employees is emotional intelligence.

What is emotional intelligence? According to Psychology Today, “Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. It is generally said to include three skills: emotional awareness; the ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problem solving; and the ability to manage emotions, which includes regulating your own emotions and cheering up or calming down other people.”

Why is emotional intelligence (or EQ, as some call it) important for employees to have? According to Mariah DeLeon, a guest writer for Entrepreneur, Workers with high EQ are better able to work in teams, adjust to change and be flexible. No matter how many degrees or other on-paper qualifications a person has, if he or she doesn’t have certain emotional qualities, he or she is unlikely to succeed. As the workplace continues to evolve, making room for new technologies and innovations, these qualities may become increasingly important.”

So, how can you gauge if a prospective employee has EQ? Here are questions that can reveal if they have the skill or not.

1. Who inspires you and why?

This question is a good one for gauging EQ because it showcases who a person models themselves after. If their role model has people skills and empathy, that means the prospect values those qualities and strives to exhibit them.

2. What would your friends say is your best quality?

This answer to this question showcases the prospect’s strengths in social groups — if their friends say they’re extremely empathetic and caring, or the best listener, then you can expect that to be the case in a work setting as well. You may also want to ask, “What would your friends say is your worst quality?” to get the flip side of the coin.

3. Can you teach me something?

Watch the prospect closely as they answer this question. Are they patient? Do they make sure you understand? Ask follow-up questions during their answer to see how they react. If they showcase frustration, this could be a sign they lack EQ.

4. If you could form your own company, what would your core values be? What type of people would you hire, and why?

The answer to this question reveals what a prospect values personally and in others. And, if their core values line up with your own, that’s a good sign they’ll be a good fit at your company.

5. Tell me about a time something went really wrong, and how did you handle it?

How a prospect responds to adversity is a clear indicator of EQ — have them describe their worst day and how they reacted to it. Did they problem solve and accept blame? If they just complained and blamed others — this is a sign they’re lacking in emotional intelligence.

What questions do you ask prospects, that could gauge EQ? Share them in the comments!

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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