11 Questions and Answers to Prepare for an Interview About Emotional Intelligence
One of the most important skills to have in almost any job is emotional intelligence. Employers often look for people with a lot of emotional intelligence when they want to hire someone for a job. When you’re getting ready for a job interview, keep in mind that the interviewer may also ask you about how well you use your emotional intelligence at work. This article goes over 11 interview questions about emotional intelligence and gives you sample answers to help you get ready and make a good impression at your interview.
What does it mean to be smart about your emotions?
EI is the ability to understand yourself and other people’s feelings. Emotional intelligence also helps you understand how other people feel and how to use and control your own feelings in different situations. At work, your EI helps you work as a team, talk to other people, and reach team goals. Because emotional intelligence is so important at work, employers often ask EI questions during job interviews.
Example of questions and answers about emotional intelligence used in a job interview
Use the following questions and answers about emotional intelligence to help you get ready for your interview:
What are your strengths and weaknesses? How have you tried to improve yourself?
Interviewers ask questions like these to find out how you see your strengths and weaknesses and what you do to improve them. Your answer can also show how your strengths will help you do the job. In your answer, give two or three examples of how your strengths have helped you succeed in the past and how you have improved your skills to be better at your job.
“I’m good at talking to people and getting along with them because I like meeting new people and learning about their ideas and points of view. I wasn’t always good at using these skills, though. I’ve worked hard over the course of my career to become a better listener and use the feedback I get from others. These were two of my weaker skills that I’ve worked to improve. I can contribute more to the success of team projects now that I’m better at these skills.
What keeps you going at work?
This question shows the interviewer what you’re really interested in and how you keep yourself interested when working with other people. Give some examples of what you like about your job and what gets you going when you’re working with other people.
Example: “I get excited when I can help my teammates reach their goals and see how they do it. Understanding other people’s ideas or problems motivates me because it lets me connect with my team and help them come up with good solutions.
When did you have to do more than one thing at the same time? How did you handle it?
The interviewer will probably ask you about your ability to understand your work priorities and your impact on team results to get a sense of your emotional intelligence. Tell me how you evaluate your work tasks and projects, figure out what tools you need, and talk to your teammates and managers to make sure things go well.
“At my last job, when my assistant manager went on vacation, I filled in for them. I got a lot of extra work on top of what I already had to do. At first, it was stressful to organize each project according to how important it was. But with the help of my manager, I learned how to use the company’s project management software to sort my tasks, give them to other people, and keep track of the progress on both unfinished and finished goals.
Tell me about a time when you and a coworker didn’t agree on something. How did you handle it?
Interviewers will also ask you questions about how you solve problems, challenges, or disagreements at work. Use your answer to show that you are good at resolving conflicts and that you can connect with and understand other people’s points of view.
Example: “Another member of my team wanted to use a programming language for an important software development project that I didn’t think was right. My teammate and I brought papers that explained both the new way they were going to do things and the proposed programming. We could tell how well the new code worked by comparing the results of testing each method. I love finding new ways to make software development more efficient, and our project went better because we could talk about the different ways we did things.
How do you work together in meetings with your team?
The interviewer is probably thinking about how your communication skills help you give ideas, listen to other people’s ideas, and build good working relationships that lead to good results. Show that you can communicate well, work well with others, and build relationships that are mutually beneficial.
Example: “I think it’s best for everyone to have a chance to talk about the main points of a topic at team meetings. When I worked on a team in the past, I usually did things like this: our manager would list the main points of discussion, and my team and I would give our thoughts on each one. Keeping meetings and collaboration on each important part of a project we finished helped us understand what management and the client wanted.
Have people ever told you something you didn’t like? What did you do?
Employers know that problems can happen at work, and this question helps them learn more about how you deal with and solve disagreements with others. Give an example in your answer of a time when you talked about different points of view and listened to other people’s points of view to find a solution.
“My boss at my last job asked me to give a presentation at an event for public relations. My boss gave me feedback on the slides and other documents I had made for the presentation before the event. Even though I thought my work was good and right for the event, my boss told me to cut down on the text on the presentation slides and add more pictures.
At first, I didn’t agree because I thought it would be better to tell the audience about our products. But my boss had a lot of experience with graphic design and marketing, so I really appreciated the feedback and the chance to learn how to make my presentation look better.
Talk about a mistake you made at work. How did you handle the situation?
The interviewer might ask this to find out how you deal with mistakes and how you try to fix them. Tell me how you deal with problems, how you talk to managers, and how you use suggestions and plans to fix mistakes.
“When I first started working as an assistant branch manager, I made the mistake of doing everything on my own, including daily tasks and important sales projects. Some of my sales goals were not being met on time, and my bosses noticed. I talked with my bosses about how to make my team better and give them more work. This helped me decide when to give tasks to other people and when to do them myself. This mistake taught me how to be a better manager and improve my ability to lead and help teams get their work done.
What did you say or do that made a customer or teammate feel good?
The way you affect other people at work can be good for the company’s work environment and culture. This question helps the interviewer figure out how well you can help other people and make the organization as a whole more successful. In your answer, give an example of a time you listened to someone and helped them, which led to a good result.
“When I worked at my old company, I helped one of my coworkers in a good way. They had just started working for the company, but their training was done. During teamwork, I noticed that one of my team members had trouble getting their ideas across. I found out that they were very shy. But they did great work and did it well, so I made sure to help a coworker get over being shy and improve their communication skills. This helped them give more ideas and talk more clearly when giving ideas or suggesting new strategies during team meetings.”
What would you say to a teammate who seems to be having a bad day?
Employers can use this question to see how well you get along with others, how well you understand how they are feeling, and how well you can help them. Use a personal example to show how your people skills have helped you help other people solve problems, face challenges, or find good solutions.
Example: “I always try to find something good in bad situations. I once worked with a teammate who was told she needed to improve in a number of ways at work. I could tell she was having a bad day, so I went up to her and asked what was wrong. She told me what her feedback was, and I helped her try out different ways to be more productive. This made her feel better and kept her interested in her work by making her more optimistic about her professional growth.
How can you learn more about the people you work with?
Your answer to this question can show the interviewer how well you get along with new teammates, how you build relationships, and how excited you are to help the team. Talk about what you do when you meet, talk to, and get to know new teammates. This will show the interviewer how you can help their team or department.
“When I first started working as a sales representative, I met everyone on my team and told them about myself. When the sales team got together, I made sure to talk to everyone and find out what they brought to the group. As I learn a new role or skill, I like to make sure my teammates get to know me and feel like they can ask me questions or give me feedback.
Have you ever had to tell someone something they didn’t want to hear?
The interviewer may ask this to find out how you talk to others about setbacks, challenges, or problems at work. Use your answer to show how you think about how other people feel, how you come up with ideas, and how you talk about sensitive topics.
Example: “At the company where I used to work, someone started getting there late. I had just been given a management position, so that worker was under my control. I talked to her about what was bothering me. I told her how her actions showed how she worked and what the company’s rules were. This was hard to talk about because the employee was usually a very enthusiastic and driven team member.
But I thought that being honest and telling this employee the truth was the best way to give them feedback. During our talk, the worker told us that they had recently cared for a family member, which made it hard for them to care for others during the week. We solved the employee’s problems, which I don’t think would have been possible if I hadn’t given constructive feedback.
How to answer questions about emotional smarts
Here are some tips to help you prepare for an interview and answer questions about emotional intelligence:
- When judging a candidate’s emotional intelligence, employers look for important traits like the ability to get along with other people, work in a team, and communicate.
- Use the STAR method to tell the interviewer more about your experience, role and responsibilities, actions, and results.
- When interviewers ask you about situations or how you act, be honest and give examples so they can see how you can help them reach their goals.
- Be honest so the interviewer can see how your empathy, compassion, and ability to connect with others make you a good fit for the job.