During the interview process, you’ll be as keen as mustard to show off your top skills, your brilliant experience and your education. But did you know that your potential employer may actually be asking you questions to assess your Emotional Intelligence too?
Emotional Intelligence (EI) involves the ability to comprehend and monitor your own emotions, and crucially, the emotions of others. This is a valuable skill in the workplace, where being able to relate to, and empathise with others, can help you work effectively within a team.
Having high Emotional Intelligence means you are able to distinguish between different emotions, and to use that knowledge to guide and understand the behaviour of yourself and others. As a result, someone with high Emotional Intelligence is easily able to navigate different social situations and environments.
Daniel Goleman first coined the term ‘Emotional Intelligence’ in his book of the same name in 1995. He purported that great leaders can be distinguished by their Emotional Intelligence; including their self-awareness, self-regulation, social skills, empathy and motivation. Goleman also suggested that there are direct correlations between Emotional Intelligence and measurable business results. This argument has been reinforced by research, which has found that the traditional IQ tests are simply not enough to indicate an individual’s potential job success. Instead, results from these traditional tests need to be supplemented by the cognitive and social skills that make up a person’s Emotional Intelligence.
Various studies have found that those with a high Emotional Intelligence enjoy greater mental health, and have stronger work performance and leadership skills. Indeed, when a candidate showcases their Emotional Intelligence, they are more likely to be seen as a balanced professional, and an asset to the team.
So how can you highlight your Emotional Intelligence in an interview?
When an employer asks you about why you want to work for a specific charity, or about your career goals, take the opportunity to show off your Emotional Intelligence. Discuss times when you’ve worked collaboratively with others to ensure a successful outcome. Showing that you can interact successfully with other departments can also be important, as it shows you are flexible and able to adapt to different situations.
Watch out for questions about times when you have worked as part of a team or conflicts with others, as these may be the interviewer’s way of testing your Emotional Intelligence.
One of the key ingredients for Emotional Intelligence, and a successful interview, is passion. It is essential to communicate this in your interview at a charity. But remember that passion outside of your industry can indicate Emotional Intelligence too – passion for extra-curricular activities can show that you are a well-rounded and motivated individual.
Emotional Intelligence doesn’t necessarily come naturally to everyone, however there are ways to improve and build upon your existing skills. Why not make a note of your strengths and weaknesses? You can identify areas which you need to work on and be prepared to address them if they come up in interview.
While Emotional Intelligence may sometimes be referred to as a ‘soft skill’, it can also be just what you need to stand out as a balanced professional in a competitive job search.
Has Emotional Intelligence helped you bag a job? Let us know how important you think it can be in the comments below!