I subscribe to HubSpot and consider it an outstanding source of marketing news. I often refer to their studies in my posts.
But a recent article entitled 5 Interview Questions to Assess Emotional Intelligence was dead wrong. Having interviewed many job candidates, I’ve discovered that the best approach is to bring out the best in a candidate. What is she proud of? What skills and experience will add value to the organization?
Ask What They Did Right
Unless the interviewer is a trained psychologist, she is playing with fire in trying to assess the emotional intelligence of a candidate with these five misguided questions:
- Can you tell me about a time you tried to do something and failed?
- Tell me about a time you received negative feedback from you boss. How did that make you feel?
- Can you tell me about a conflict at work that made you feel frustrated?
- Tell me about a hobby you do outside of work. Can you teach me about it?
- Can you tell me about a time you needed to ask for help on a project?
In my view, these questions are designed to put the job candidate on the defensive. The goal should be to get at the candidates strengths. What does she really love to do? Is there a project she is particularly proud of that she’s anxious to tell you about?
In recounting what it took to make that project a success, the candidate will reveal her skills at generating ideas, collaborating with others to make it happen, how she evaluated the success of the project and applied it to other areas of her work.
Sure you could ask about failures, but what does that tell you about his successes? It’s unlikely the candidate will say, “I failed because I just did a lousy job.”
What response do you expect when you ask how someone how he felt about negative feedback? His honest answer is that he felt terrible! How would you feel?
Yet, the author says that if the candidate responded that is he felt “bad” then he might be less emotionally intelligent. Find me someone who doesn’t feel bad about negative feedback and I’ll show you someone who doesn’t care. Not a person I want on my team.
Just use your commonsense when talking with a candidate. Think of it as a conversation and not an interrogation.
An interviewer’s responsibility is to create an environment where a job candidate can feel comfortable and knows that the interviewer is sincerely interested in learning about him and his qualifications.
You can’t evaluate a person’s emotional intelligence when you’re sneaking peeks at your smart phone and answering your phone during the meeting. That shows disrespect.
Job interviews are two-way streets. You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. That goes for the interviewer and the job candidate. The initial interview is the beginning of employee engagement.
Start with small talk and ask about her trip to the interview. How was traffic? Did the receptionist ask if she needed anything while she waited for the meeting to start? Don’t jump her with your first question.
The candidate should leave the interview feeling that he had the opportunity to discuss his skills and experience and how they would benefit the company.
He shouldn’t leave feeling awful because all the interviewer wanted was to know about his faults and failures.