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Interested in getting more than you bargained for from interviews?

Posted on 5/03/2018 by Tracey George MIRP

Heart & Brain

Having the skills, qualifications or experience to do a job is one thing, and clearly, critical to doing any job effectively. Add in some emotional intelligence (EI) and you potentially get a bit more than you bargained for!

I would like to share some basic ways in which you could incorporate and enhance the interview process by injecting some EI into your questioning and assessment of candidates.  By doing this you are increasing your chances of hiring someone that works collaboratively and is team orientated, who adapts to easily to change and has an open communication style – we all want more candidates like that, right?

  1. Self-awareness

Self-awareness is one's ability to accurately judge themselves and acts as the foundation for personal growth and success. To gain an understanding of a candidate’s self-awareness, you can ask them to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses, giving examples of these and explaining why these particular traits are strengths or weaknesses. If they reference feedback given or opinions of others, then it generally indicates that they listen and value the opinions of others to improve. Alternatively, you can ask how friends and colleagues perceive them.

Look out for any inconsistencies in how a candidate describes themselves and how they appear to you or others in the interview. For example, if they describe themselves as being persuasive but mention later in the interview that their ideas weren’t used by colleagues, they may be lacking accurate self-awareness.

  1. Self-regulation

Self-regulation refers to a range of characteristics - such as the ability to focus attention, control emotions and manage thinking, behavior, and feelings. Asking questions on emotions and reactions to situations in the workplace can be a good indication of whether a candidate is self-regulated. Try asking something such as “can you tell me about a time when your mood affected your performance, either negatively or positively?” or ask them to give you an example of having been let down by a colleague which meant they were unable to fulfill their role effectively and how they reacted and coped in that situation.

Look out for someone who speaks negatively about their former employer as they may find it hard to control their emotions. It’s important to ascertain whether they can control their mood - which can be seen assessed real-time throughout the interview process. It’s a good indication if a candidate responds well to the type of question posed above and remains calm despite it potentially being a highly emotive subject for them.

  1. Empathy

Empathy involves the consideration of other people's feelings - especially when making decisions. Understanding how someone empathises with others can be an indication of how well they work in a team and can be discovered through questions such as ‘What do you do when someone comes to you with a problem?’ or asking them to describe a situation where they helped a colleague and explain the reasons why they did.

Look out for people who blame their mistakes on others - as it could indicate a lack of empathy and understanding of others. They may struggle to view the scenario from another's point of view or think of their motivations.

  1. Self-motivation

Motivation is important in any role and refers to determination and drive. It can also be indicative of self-management and the ability to effectively manage their time ensuring optimum productivity. To find out how motivated someone is, try asking questions such as ‘Tell me about the best job you have had and why?’ or ‘What do you least like about the type of work that you do?’.  A personal favourite of mine is ‘We all have things to learn when we start a new role, how did you go about plugging the knowledge gaps you had when you started your current role?’

Look out for a candidate that generally struggles in an interview or struggles to think of examples to back up the answers. It could indicate that they didn’t prepare or take the time to brush up on some basic interview questions they could have expected. Other indicators of a candidate lacking motivation could be displayed in a lack of progression in previous organisations, not completing courses or studies and of course, it goes without saying that body language is always an important factor to consider too. 

As a practitioner of Thomas International Psychometric Assessment tools, such as PPA (Personal Profile Analysis) and TEIQue (Emotional intelligence assessment), I believe there is true power in not only using these tools in the workplace but have found much value in these assessments from a personal self-awareness and development perspective too. 

I hope you have found some of my top tips useful and if you are interested in finding out more about anything covered in my blog, please get in touch -