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Talent - Remote Work - Job Hunting - Tue Oct 11 2022

Boost Your Emotional Intelligence in Interviews

Software developers are often keen to show off their technical IQ to potential employers. But what about their EQ?

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is a high-demand skill that companies everywhere are seeking in new hires. In fact, emotional intelligence ranked within the top 5 most wanted skills for the first time in 2020. In addition, EQ was the strongest predictor of top performance in the workplace, according to a TalentSmartEQ survey.

As you prepare for your next interview, it’s essential to consider how to incorporate emotional intelligence and how to answer soft skills interview questions. Here, we’ve broken down how to answer emotional intelligence interview questions in order to land your dream tech job.

Why emotional intelligence in the workplace?

In the past, soft skills came second to technical skills when hiring developers. Nowadays, this has been shifting and changing, as employers are looking for candidates with high EQs, knowing that often it’s more challenging to teach interpersonal abilities than tech skills.

Specifically, emotional intelligence can lead to a more harmonious and productive workplace, as team members with high EQs are able to:

  • Manage their feelings in the workplace
  • Communicate seamlessly
  • Be a team player and empathize with others
  • Listen to and consider different perspectives
  • Receive or give constructive criticism
  • Handle stress and difficult team moments
  • Adapt and learn new skills
  • Self-regulate stress and stay motivated

For example, a Tech Lead with a high EQ can manage their frustration when a project gets delayed and motivates their team to catch up. Or, an emotionally intelligent developer can resolve feedback on their code without causing conflict with tech reviewers.

EQ is also a key characteristic for remote workers who have to manage their own time, motivation and work-life balance. In an age of prevalent remote “burnout,” team members with high EQs are able to successfully regulate their emotions and needs when working from home. Naturally, soft skills interview questions have become increasingly popular among interviewers since remote work became the new normal.

Emotional intelligence in interviews

Tips for acing emotional intelligence interview questions

Now that you have a good understanding of what EQ is, let’s go through some strategies for acing emotional intelligence interview questions as well as soft skills interview questions.

1. Keep it simple

The key values of EQ are communication, teamwork, feedback, and professional growth, so when in doubt focus on these pillars. It’s usually best to go in depth into one trait per answer, rather than cram multiple qualities of emotional intelligence into every response.

2. Give honest examples

It’s not a good idea to make up an example or exaggerate it. Instead, it’s best to stick to the truth when answering emotional intelligence interview questions.

Similarly, avoid “humble-brag” answers. For example, don’t say that your greatest weakness is that you work too hard. Whenever possible, try to balance humility and self-confidence in your responses.

3. Pay attention to your body language

If you’re giving an interesting answer to soft skills interview questions, but squirming uncomfortably or avoiding eye contact, this may be a red flag to potential employers. Practice staying calm and composed with your body language. This is especially important if you have nervous habits that may arise with interview anxiety.

4. Actively listen to the interviewer –and ask questions

A big part of emotional intelligence is empathizing and listening to others. You can model these traits by paying attention to the interviewer and asking thoughtful questions about the role, company and more.

5. Avoid boilerplate answers

While it’s a good idea to practice emotional intelligence interview questions, make sure you’re not just memorizing boilerplate answers. Tailor any templates or methods according to your specific experiences and your natural way of speaking.

6. Leverage the STAR or CARL method

If you’re uncertain about how to structure your answer in order to provide good depth, leverage the STAR or CARL method. Both of these behavioral interview frameworks guide you step by step through a complete answer. We’re especially fond of the CARL method, which stands for Content, Action, Results, and Learning. Get full insight into this methodology on our blog post here.

7. Don’t bad-mouth past coworkers or bosses

Complaining about your former workplace is a huge no-no if you want to present yourself as emotionally intelligent. Though you can talk about what you would improve about your past job or team, be sure to phrase this in a thoughtful way without pointing fingers.

8. Anticipate hard questions and practice often!

Emotional intelligence interview questions are designed to be difficult. The whole idea is that there’s no one right answer and you have to utilize your EQ to share experiences and insights. For this reason, you should practice and role-play answers in advance to organize your thoughts and have great examples on hand.

Boost your body language for interviews

Common emotional intelligence interview questions

Still not sure how to incorporate EQ into your next job interview in English? Here are some emotional intelligence interview questions to get you started. By thinking about how you would answer these questions, you’ll be well on your way to excelling during the interview.

  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • What motivates you at work?
  • Can you describe a time when you disagreed with your boss or coworker on something? How did you handle it?
  • Have you ever gotten feedback that you didn't agree with? What did you do?
  • Tell me about an error that you made at work. How did you handle the situation?
  • If you see that a teammate is having a bad day, how would you approach them?
  • How do you form new relationships with coworkers?
  • Have you ever had to deliver difficult feedback?
  • If a customer called to complain about an issue, how would you handle it?
  • How do you respond when a coworker challenges you in a meeting?
  • What are your strategies for building a healthy work-life balance?
  • How do you destress after a difficult day at work?
  • What are you most proud of and why?
  • When have you felt demotivated, and what did you do to overcome this?
  • How would your closest friends describe you?

Example answer for an emotional intelligence interview question

Let’s say that, among the soft skills interview questions, you’re asked: “What is your greatest weakness and how do you minimize it?”

A candidate with a high EQ would first choose a genuine real-life example. For example, if you struggle with delegating tasks to others and upskilling your team to ensure they can handle them, this would be a good place to start. A Tech Lead candidate might say during an interview:

“My greatest weakness is that I don’t delegate enough tasks to my team members. Often this happens because I know that giving the task to one of my direct reports means that I have to build in the time to manage, review and give feedback on it, instead of simply getting it done myself with the high-quality I need from the get-go. That said, I understand the importance of upskilling my team so that they can better handle these tasks. To improve this weakness, I try to create significant buffer space in our timelines to make this happen.”

How to raise your emotional intelligence for interviews

Raise your EQ and join our talent network today!

Emotional intelligence is a critical trait to show in your tech interview to receive serious consideration from the employer. While emotional intelligence interview questions can be tricky to manage, you can utilize our tips and examples above to stand out from other candidates.

Looking for your dream tech job? Reach out to us at Nexton. We connect talented tech professionals in LATAM with amazing remote job opportunities in the U.S.

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Leandro Passos

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