Career Planning Finding a Job Interview Strategies Interview Questions About Emotional Intelligence Assessing Applicant Emotional Intelligence (EI) By Alison Doyle Alison Doyle Facebook Twitter Website Alison Doyle is one of the nation’s foremost career experts and has counseled both students and corporations on hiring practices. She has given hundreds of interviews on the topic for outlets including The New York Times, BBC News, and LinkedIn. Alison founded CareerToolBelt.com and has been an expert in the field for more than 20 years. learn about our editorial policies Updated on January 7, 2021 In This Article View All In This Article What Is Emotional Intelligence? What the Interviewer Wants to Know Sample EI Interview Questions Tips for Giving the Best Answer What Not to Say Possible Follow-Up Questions Photo: Westend61 / Getty Images What's emotional intelligence, and how does it impact your candidacy for employment? Increasingly, interviewers have begun to assess candidates’ emotional intelligence (EI) during the job interview process. Sometimes, interviewers assess emotional intelligence through written, psychological-based tests. Other times, interviewers simply ask particular questions to assess EI. What Is Emotional Intelligence? Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability of an individual to understand their own emotions and the emotions of others, as well as the ability to respond to, apply, and manage those emotions. Testing job applicants for their emotional intelligence (in the form of psychological-based tests) is a growing trend in employment today, where many work settings require effective teamwork to meet project demands or service goals. Job interviews are also used to assess the emotional intelligence of job applicants. Note If a worker has high emotional intelligence, he or she is more likely to be able to express his or her emotions healthily and understand the emotions of those he or she works with, thus enhancing work relationships and performance. What the Interviewer Wants to Know Interview questions that assess emotional intelligence tend to focus on how the interviewee manages himself and manages relationships with others. The questions asked are often behavioral questions, meaning that they ask the interviewee to explain how he or she acted in a past employment-related situation. Below are some examples of typical EI interview questions. Sample Interview Questions About Emotional Intelligence What is one of your weaknesses? How do you overcome that weakness?What motivates you to do your work?Describe a stressful work situation you’ve had. How did you resolve that situation?What are one or two things that make you angry or frustrated at work? What do you do when you get angry or frustrated at work?Tell me about a time when you received feedback on your performance, and you disagreed with the feedback. How did you handle the situation?Tell me about a setback you had at work. How did you handle it?Describe a time when you made a big mistake at work. How did you handle the situation?Tell me about a time when you had to handle multiple work assignments at once. How did you feel? How did you handle the situation?Tell me about a time when you took on a task at work that was new to you. How did you feel doing it?How would you handle a coworker who consistently does not pull his weight on group assignments?How do your colleagues benefit from working with you?Tell me about a time when you did or said something that had a positive impact on an employee, coworker, or customer.Have you ever noticed that someone at work was having a bad day? How did you know? What did you do?Tell me about a time when you had a dispute with a colleague. What did you do to deal with the situation?Describe a time when a colleague came to you with a problem. How did you respond?Tell me about a time when understanding someone else’s perspective helped you accomplish a task or resolve an issue.Tell me about a time when you motivated someone to accomplish a task. How did you motivate him or her?Why is it important to develop a rapport with your colleagues?How do you build a rapport with your colleagues? Tips for Giving the Best Answer Anticipate Tricky Questions: The best way to ace a job interview is to plan on answering difficult interview questions that may arise before you even walk into the room. While questions about your emotional intelligence can be challenging, other questions may be equally tricky, depending upon your individual strengths and work experience (or lack thereof). Do a Practice Interview: You may be asked questions which you haven’t thought about, such as “Where would you like to be in your career in five years?” or “Tell us about your greatest failure on the job and how you handled it.” So, it’s wise to practice your answers to potential interview questions, as well as to realize that there are certain interview questions that employers should not ask. Note One of the best techniques is to ask a friend to play the role of your interviewer so that you can practice these common interview questions and answers. What Not to Say Don’t Say Anything Negative About Anyone: Obviously, you wouldn’t trash your former bosses, clients, or coworkers while answering a question about emotional intelligence. But take care not to say anything negative during other parts of the interview that will call into question your EI. Don’t complain about former employers or colleagues—the interviewer will wonder if you’ll say the same about this organization, should you get hired. Don’t Stretch the Truth to Make a Good Story: Chances are, you’ve overcome setbacks, helped colleagues with their projects, and had a positive impact on your team at some point during your career. Come prepared with a genuine story to relate, rather than trying to put a positive spin on a so-so interaction. Most people are pretty good at telling when the person they’re talking to is being insincere. Possible Follow-Up Questions Tell me about your work experience. – Best Answers What type of work environment do you prefer? – Best Answers Are you easy to talk to? – Best Answers What are your career goals? – Best Answers Do you work well with other people? – Best Answers Key Takeaways ANTICIPATE DIFFICULT QUESTIONS: Be prepared to answer questions about your weaknesses, setbacks, motivation, and interactions with colleagues.PRACTICE INTERVIEWING: Ask a trusted friend to play the role of interviewer and practice answering these questions.BE SINCERE: Come to the interview with genuine examples of how you demonstrated empathy, understanding, self-knowledge, and the ability to learn. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit Sources The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Psychology Today. "Emotional Intelligence." Accessed Jan. 6, 2020. Social Talent. "Why Emotional Intelligence Is Important When Hiring Top Talent.” Accessed Jan.6, 2021. SHRM. "Want to Really Get to Know Your Candidates? Interview for Emotional Intelligence."Accessed Jan. 6, 2020.