The Emotionally Intelligent Interviewer: A Smarter Questioning Strategy



Emotional intelligence (EI) is typically described as someone's ability to read other people's signals and respond appropriately to them, as well as recognize and understand their own emotions so they can influence the emotions of others. What better opportunity is there to demonstrate EI than during the interviewing and candidate selection process?

So many interviewers jump way too early into a question-and-answer interviewing format without allowing candidates to discuss their specific interest in the role or organization, their shorter- and longer-term career ambitions, or their current status in the job-search process. Get to know candidates individually and on a more-personal level before formally engaging in technical (traditional) questions, and you'll likely find that trust and goodwill can develop. Once candidates feel more at ease with you, they'll feel more inclined to "let you in" and share their real needs in the job search and in their career and professional development. 

Although it won't happen all the time, you'll likely begin to hear comments like, "Well, I wouldn't normally say this during an interview, Paul, but ...," and at that point you can rest assured that you've developed enough trust in this initial meeting to get to know the real candidate behind all the interview hype. It's simpler than you might think, and most hiring managers will feel more comfortable with the interview process as a whole. A bonus is that candidates will likely be wowed by an organization that initiates professional development discussions in the pre-employment process. It's a triple win—for companies, hiring managers and candidates alike.

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