Facebook Twitter

How emotional intelligence plays a role in the job interview process

SHARE How emotional intelligence plays a role in the job interview process


When you’re applying for a job, you might consider whether or not you’re qualified, if you have enough experience, and if your knowledge is up to par with the job requirements.

One thing you may have neglected to consider is whether your emotional intelligence is sharp—especially when it comes to the job interview process.

Psychology Today says emotional intelligence includes several skills such as, “...emotional awareness, or the ability to identify and name one’s own emotions; the ability to harness those emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problem solving; and the ability to manage emotions, which includes both regulating one’s own emotions when necessary and helping others to do the same.”

While it might be easy to rattle off your accomplishments, qualifications and knowledge about a job you’re applying for, it’s just as important to communicate your emotional intelligence, too.

Its role in the job interview process

While most potential employers won’t subject you to an emotional intelligence test, they can pick up on your emotional regulation skills. Since you can’t get a certificate in emotional intelligence, it’s imperative that you demonstrate your skills. Here are a few ways to do that.


Though you might be tempted to start reciting your rehearsed interview answers, TopInterview says this isn’t in your best interest. They recommend listening to the full question, taking a moment to really consider your answer, and give an honest answer to the question they asked.

Genuinely express emotion

As many people in adulthood are coming to realize, being vulnerable and expressing emotion can be a difficult thing. Author and researcher Brene Brown described it as “uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.” While you don’t have to rehash your entire childhood in a job interview, you should be able to express emotions at the appropriate times—including the retelling of your past work experiences.

Discuss your past mistakes

As most people who’ve either conducted a job interview or been on the other side of the desk during an interview can attest to, you’ll most likely be asked, “What is your greatest weakness/failure?”

Before blurting out that you’re a perfectionist or you care too much, take time to consider the question and how it could work to your advantage. Be vulnerable and share a time when you made a mistake—but don’t end it there. Express your feelings about the mistake and what you learned from it. Showing your potential employer that you can take accountability for your actions and move on as a better person is important, says FastCompany.com.

These are just a few ways you can demonstrate your emotional intelligence. For more ideas, take a look at these other ways Psychology Today recommends sharpening your skills.

The big picture

In a CareerBuilder survey, 71% of employers say they value emotional intelligence over IQ, and 75% are more likely to promote an employee who has a higher EQ over a higher IQ.

Since you’re working with the same group of people day after day, 40 hours per week, it’s critical that the team members function well together. If each member has a good emotional intelligence skillset, it’s easier to see each other as fellow humans.

For any work team to function well, empathy and compassion are necessary from both employees and employers. Helpguide.org states, “When you remember that we are all peers on an emotional level, it becomes easier to approach the boss, to ask an employee to give a little more, or to understand that a coworker’s irritability is nothing personal. Emotions are great levelers among people; use them to tie you together rather than rend you apart.”

A company that values the individual—and the team

Finding a company that values emotional intelligence is worth your efforts and time. Biofire Defense is a Salt Lake City-based company that fits the bill. It’s evident in their services and in the employees they hire that individuals and teamwork are valued and supported.

To work for Biofire Defense, check out their job openings on their website.