How to make the most of your EQ in an interview

Nailing an interview is more than just answering questions.

While your skills and experience play a big role in the hiring process, your EQ, or emotional intelligence, plays an equally important role as well. 

In fact, this study found that more than 70% of employers value emotional intelligence over natural abilities or IQ, and almost 60% of employers would not hire someone whom they found to have low emotional intelligence. Clearly, EQ is important. 

Your emotional intelligence is defined by how well you control your emotions, respond to problems and questions, and interact with other people

Here are 6 clever ways to show your EQ in your next interview. 

How to show your EQ:

#1: Show the right emotion

In your interview, you are being judged on how to react to hard questions. It is okay to be nervous during this process, but resist covering up your emotions completely.

For example, smiling during an interview always helps form a positive connection between you and your interviewer.

If your interviewer tells you about a recent business accomplishment, showing a little enthusiasm means that you care about the business and understand how to react. 

#2: Talk about your growth

“The ability to acknowledge mistakes and learn from them is a strong indicator of high EQ,” wrote Top Interview.

If you are asked about your weaknesses in an interview, don’t fall into the trap of believing that you are perfect. Believe it or not, your interviewer does not want to hear that.

“Talk openly about a shortcoming from your professional past and then add the positive spin: what you learned and how you’ve applied the lesson since.”

#3: Actively listen. 

Resist throwing out canned answers to common questions. Instead, listen carefully to the questions being asked and be sure to answer them in their entirety.

Take a moment or two if you need it before answering each question. This will indicate to your interviewer that you value giving thoughtful replies rather than delivering overly-rehearsed answers to their questions. 

#4: Share the credit. 

“Take a cue from professional athletes when they are interviewed after a win or achievement,” said Fast Company.

Athletes generally credit their team and coaching staff after a major achievement rather than taking all of the credit.

“When asked about a project that you are proud of, or that was successful, be sure to share credit with the team, unit, and others who were involved in the project.” Your interviewer will respect that. 

#5: Share how you deal with conflict. 

Your ability to deal with disagreements, hostility, or other types of conflict is a big contributing factor to your emotional intelligence.

Have a few examples ready of situations when you needed to adapt quickly to something unexpected, or when a difficult team member or customer needed to be coached or calmed down.

Come up with some real-world examples from your recent past. 

#6: Ask good questions. 

At the end of the interview, always ask insightful questions. Always. Your questions help boost your emotional intelligence because they immediately portray to your interviewer that you care and have a vested interest in the position and the company.

Ask about opportunities for growth and how the company rewards its staff, deals with difficult customers, and defines its culture. More times than not, this will immediately impress your interviewers. 

Emotional intelligence is a big qualifying factor in most interviews. While skills can be taught to newer staff, emotional intelligence is almost impossible to teach. This makes it all the more important that companies uncover a candidate’s EQ during the interview rather than after hiring. 

Use these techniques to boost your EQ and nail your next interview.