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10 Emotional Intelligence Questions to Ask Leadership Candidates


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These are all tough questions to answer.

Social awareness

Quite likely the most important competency for fit with your company’s culture, social awareness is the ability to detect crucial networks and nuances at work in an organization. Use the following questions to assess a candidate’s natural propensity toward empathy, humility, and willingness to take responsibility for their actions:

  • Tell me about someone with whom you work on a regular basis that you find difficult to get along with. What have you done to build a stronger relationship? What was the result?
  • Tell me about a time when you rejected one of your team member’s ideas or opinions about a project.
  • Describe a time when someone felt you were unfair. What did you do?
  • How do you know we will be a culture fit for you? What traits do you have that match those of current employees? What is different about you or what skill set do you have that could better our company and assist us in attaining our goals?

Relationship management

More than just interpersonal relationships, this competency focuses on the ability to inspire others, create resonance to a company’s mission or vision, challenge the status quo, and bring out differing perspectives in a collaborative fashion.

  • Describe a situation where you had misplaced optimism. How did you proceed?
  • Tell me about a time when, as a leader, you found it necessary to bend the rules. What did you do? Why did you do it? How did you feel about it?
  • What evidence do you have that you have created a positive climate or culture at your current employer?
  • On an average day, is your main focus on results and tasks or people and emotions?
  • Describe the most difficult boss you've had. How did you find common ground? Tell me about something you learned from that boss. How has that knowledge furthered your career?
  • Give me an example of a time you failed to establish or maintain a relationship with a peer.

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