As more studies reveal the benefits of emotional intelligence in the workplace, companies are beginning to take notice, and the myth of IQ leading the way is coming undone. For example, 58% of job performance is based on a person’s EQ, and 70% of the time, those with mid-level IQ outperform those with the highest IQs.
EQ is quickly becoming the best indicator of success in just about any job, and companies should begin looking for the traits of an emotionally intelligent person when hiring managers. But how do you measure EQ during a job interview? With a mix of humor, pressure, and contention, of course!
Step 1: Apply a Hint of Pressure
Emotional intelligence is about knowing when to manage your emotions. Emotionally intelligent managers know when to get angry, when to use a soft touch on a sensitive topic with an employee, and when not to let stress get the better of them. Managing emotions is such a good indicator of performance that 90% of top performers in the workplace can carefully control their emotions in times of stress, leading to better decisions made by cooler heads.
If you want to find someone who can keep cool under times of stress, look no further than the interview itself. Looking good for a job interview is inherently stressful for candidates, but if you need to make sure your interview can keep calm during tight situations, try a bit of testing. Even outside of skill-based fields, introducing a problem and having candidates perform on the spot should reveal who performs best when the chips are down.
Step 2: Measure Humor (No, Seriously)
Emotional intelligence is also about knowing how others feel, and reading people’s faces. To that end, humor is a proven way to measure how emotionally intelligent someone is, and can even increase creative thinking and emotional intelligence in those who don’t have it!
It’s probably not a good idea to directly “test” a candidate’s humor in a strict sense (everyone knows to laugh at jokes your boss makes), but there are other ways to measure a candidate’s humor. Did they find their own way to be funny during the job interview? Did they know when to get serious and when to be lighthearted? You don’t have to test humor in order to measure it, so make sure to keep track of things like this during an interview.
Step 3: Avoid the ‘Yes’ Men
We all want people to agree with us all the time, but sometimes it’s better to not get what you want. If you’re a boss who surrounds herself with ‘yes’ men, you may want to reconsider. Studies show people who are too agreeable are prone to stress, burnout and even depression. Not only are these employees going along with what you’re saying in the hopes of getting ahead, but they’re also more likely to have periods of disengagement at work.
Instead, you want to find managers who disagree with you for the right reasons. Emotionally intelligent people stick by their convictions and aren’t afraid to argue for them (of course, they’re also not too stubborn to know when they’re wrong). To find these people, offer up a controversial opinion on something related to their field (stay away from politics and religion) and see if they disagree. If they buckle under the weight of a simple difference of opinion, they’re probably a ‘Yes’ man.
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As the head of a department in the midst of a sustained period of rapid growth, Sara has spent thousands of hours interviewing, hiring, onboarding and assessing employees and candidates. She is passionate about sharing the best practices she has learned from both successes and failures in talent acquisition and management.