Emotional Intelligence Interview Questions

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Emotional intelligence, also known as EQ (Emotional Quotient), refers to a person’s ability to manage their emotions positively. Individuals with higher EQ can effectively control their stress levels, empathize with others, communicate effectively, resolve conflicts, and deal with challenging situations. Having employees with high EQ is a blessing for any workplace. Employers should try to understand candidates’ level of emotional intelligence when they are called in for job interviews. One of the most effective ways to do so is to ask the right questions. In this article, we would like to recommend 10 interview questions to identify emotional intelligence in job interviews.

10 questions to add to your interview

  1. Tell me about a time you faced an ethical dilemma at work. How did you deal with it and what was the result?
  2. Tell me about a time someone criticized your work. How did you respond and what did you learn?
  3. How would you resolve a dispute between two colleagues?
  4. If a customer called to complain that the price of our product/service is too high, how would you handle it?
  5. Tell me about a time you had a conflict with your supervisor. How did you resolve it?
  6. How do you recover from hardship or failure?
  7. What do you do when you get home or before work to de stress?
  8. What kinds of things do you by yourself or with others to celebrate success?
  9. What kind of behaviors are annoying to you?
  10. Describe a time you delivered bad news to someone. How did you do it?

How Emotional Intelligence Helps an Employee

eq at workplace


Emotional intelligence can help employees in many different ways. It can be better understood by studying the five components of emotional intelligence developed by seasoned psychologist Daniel Goleman. He created these components back in the 90s to stress the significance of emotional intelligence at work. All of these components are still relevant today, and employers should have a look at them. 

1. Self-awareness

Self-awareness​​ stands for a person’s capacity to understand their emotions as well as emotional triggers. If individuals are aware of their feelings, they can identify how others around them may react to questions about feelings. In addition, it also helps to relate to someone else’s feelings when they share the same challenges and obstacles. For example, a self-aware employee can understand the frustrations of a colleague after a failed project. It encourages the employees to be helpful and empathetic to their colleagues. 


2. Self-regulation

Self-regulation helps with controlling and channeling one’s emotions in a positive way. In other words, it refers to having control over one’s own emotions. In workplaces, challenging scenarios may occur very often. Without self-regulation, employees may lose control over their emotions and hamper team morale by expressing their frustrations. Self-regulation helps in avoiding such mishaps. It is essential for individual and team performance. 

3. Motivation

Motivation is probably the most crucial component of this list. It stands for an employee’s desire and urges to deliver the best performance. For these employees, completing regular tasks and accomplishing weekly and monthly goals appear as achievements. This is why HR professionals try to hire as many highly motivated employees as possible. With a higher number of highly motivated employees, an organization can reach optimum performance. 

4. Empathy

Empathy allows an employee to understand and care about the feelings of others, in this case, other employees. In dynamic work environments, an employee must handle workplace situations effectively by understanding the feelings of their colleagues. Someone may not be at their best because of personal reasons, and empathy from colleagues can make it much easier for the person to get out of the bad patch. 

5. Social skills

Social skills develop better communication in the workplace. Modern-day workplaces require effective communication and interaction between team members, and social skills can positively boost that. In addition, employees with better social skills are good at identifying and resolving conflicts.

How Emotional Intelligence is Developed

emotional intelligence


Emotional intelligence is something that resides in every individual but in different degrees. Workplaces should also accommodate practices to develop emotional intelligence other than just hiring employees with high EQ. Human resource officials should encourage the employees to develop personal qualities and competencies that improve emotional intelligence. 

Most successful leaders are not just good at their job but also demonstrate high levels of emotional intelligence. To develop such leaders, employers should try to identify the shortcomings of their employees in terms of emotional intelligence and develop solutions. Emotional intelligence varies because of cultural background, upbringing, religion, race, and even gender in some cases. For example, women demonstrate higher emotional empathy compared to men on average. 

HR professionals should identify the employees’ EQ and the reason behind higher or lower scores. The employees with higher EQ can be studied to replicate the same level of EQ in others. The ones with lower EQ must be analyzed to understand the reasons behind their low score. If possible, the workplace should be developed to eliminate those reasons. For example, someone may suffer from social anxiety for not making friends when they were young. The workplace then should be encouraged to be more friendly than formal.


1. Is it legal to ask emotional intelligence interview questions?

Ans: Yes. Top companies, such as Visa and Microsoft, require applicants to fill out an online “emotional intelligence interview” form. The questions are pretty standard (although not necessarily scientifically validated), and try to ask applicants how they deal with stress, how they get along with others, etc. The questions are meant to gauge how well an applicant can understand people, process emotions, and so forth. It’s perfectly legal and well within your hiring manager’s discretion to ask you these questions if you ask for it.

2. What is a good EQ I score?

Ans: After considering the style of the question and the competency of the underlying information, the good EQ I score is anything in the 90-100 range. Whilst, a perfect EQ score is 160 recorded for the time being.


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