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How to Answer Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Interview Questions

Why are they testing your emotional intelligence? When you walk into the room, the interviewer has already determined from your resume that you have the technical skills to do the job. Now it’s up to you to prove you get along well with others while maintaining a professional demeanor. Emotional intelligence (EQ) describes an awareness of your own emotional needs and those of others and how you regulate your behavior in different situations. Enter an interview feeling prepared and confident by reading through these common interview questions designed to score your emotional intelligence.

What are the most common EQ questions asked?

If you were faced with an ethical issue, how did you handle it, and what was the outcome?

This is where the company tests your values and the parameters of your integrity. Be sure to choose an example that relates to the job you’re applying for. 

Sample answer: “A colleague double-charged a client. After discussing the situation with him, I directed him to correct the error. Within a week, a similar incident occurred with my colleague acting in the same erratic manner. I approached our supervisor, and we discovered that my colleague was working while intoxicated. A rehabilitation process followed, and my colleague got the help he needed.”

Describe a situation where your work was criticized. What was your reaction, and did you learn from the experience?

Watch your body language. If you suddenly lean back in your chair, the interviewer may feel that you’re being defensive. Be sure to take accountability for mistakes you made. 

Sample answer: “In the middle of a project, my client expressed doubts about the processes I had in place. I was using a strategy that I believed the client to be familiar with. I assured them I was happy to run the project through their system and explained the benefits of testing my alternative. The client appreciated the positive results using my model and decided to try my method. I learned to clarify all aspects of the plan with my clients before tackling a task.”

Two of your colleagues have a serious disagreement. How would you resolve the situation?

Conflict management is a perfect way to demonstrate your leadership style along with your mediation skills. Whatever your approach, emphasize the importance of logical thinking, empathy, and putting the needs of the business first.

Sample answer: “I would allow each of my colleagues to express their opinions without interruption and in a calm, private environment. After weighing their points of view, I would direct them towards an acceptable solution, encouraging them to listen respectfully while finding a resolution in the best interest of the company.”

You’ve received a complaint from a client. How do you respond?

The response to this situation depends on the type of job you’re applying for. The complaint could be via social media or a face-to-face meeting. They are looking for an answer that shows your conflict resolution skills. 

Sample answer: I would invite the customer to meet to allow them to explain the issue to me fully. I’d wait for them to finish their list of objections before taking any other action. No matter how angry they got, I would remain calm and moderate my tone. I’d apologize for the inconvenience caused and repeat the problem back to them to ensure I have understood them fully. Then I’d take the necessary action as mandated by company policy and make sure the customer is satisfied.”

Can you describe a time when you were involved in a conflict with your supervisor? How was the situation resolved?

This is a typical behavioral interview question. Do you have the soft skills to communicate your opinion in a calm, logical manner? When describing the scenario, use a professional example rather than a disagreement over a personal matter. Also, avoid badmouthing your supervisor – especially if they wrote your character reference letter!

Sample answer: “My project manager and I had a solid working relationship, and he often said I was indispensable. So it was a surprise when he chose a colleague to go with him on a trip to lock down a deal with a new client. When he returned, I sent him an email asking for a meeting. I expressed my views that I felt underappreciated and confused as I felt my work merited the privilege of working with him on procuring acquisition. In response, he told me that he believed I was capable of handling clients on my own and had already planned solo trips abroad for me to represent him.” 

Ready for your interview?

Emotional intelligence questions are a company’s way of getting to know you and an opportunity for you to show the company what makes you unique. So avoid generic answers and show them you can handle these questions well. It’s a great sign that you can perform in stressful situations.

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