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Be Smart - Assess Emotional Intelligence!

While Interview techniques can vary significantly between employers based on wants and needs. Largely interviews focus on traditional aspects of intelligence as the main body of conversation for candidate evaluation – as reflected through the focus on qualifications and the like.

Whilst these traditional measures are highly effective to evaluating suitability for a role there is another aspect of employee potential that is far less utilised. That is, an assessment of Emotional Intelligence.

In this article we present what Emotional Intelligence is, its origins, assessment benefits, and assessment methodology - presenting how its appraisal can significantly alter the hiring process for the better.


Emotional Intelligence is defined as, ‘the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others’ (Psychology Today n.d.).

According to the Institute of Health and Human Potential this term derives from the research of Peter Salavoy and John Mayer (n.d). It was largely popularised by Dan Goleman (Instiitute of Health and Human Potential n.d.).

Furthering its definition, Psychology Today suggests Emotional Intelligence composes of three main streams of emotion; awareness, application, and management (n.d.).

Emotional awareness is the capability for awareness of both own individual emotions and the emotions of those around you (Psychology Today, n.d.).

Emotional application is the ability to exploit said emotions for the application of tasks such as thought and problem solving (Psychology Today, n.d.).

Emotional management is the ability to manage and regulate both personal emotions and the emotions of others (Psychology Today, n.d.).


The main benefits of an analysis of Emotional Intelligence lies in its application alongside traditional tools utilised in interviews.

While traditional tools are immensely important in determining applicability of candidates for certain roles they do not account for the level of variance in performance and success (Emmerling & Goleman 2003).

'When IQ test scores are correlated with how well people perform in their careers the highest estimate of how much difference IQ accounts for is about 25 percent' (Hunter & Hunter, 1984; Schmidt & Hunter, 1981 cited in Emmerling and Goleman 2003).

This is hugely significant as, of course, when hiring organisations don’t just want candidates that are suitable for certain roles…they want candidates that are able to excel.

Emotional intelligence can be assessed to distinguish top candidates and performers from those who are simply able to complete the role through the integration of, ‘cognitive, emotional, and social abilities’ (Emmerling and Goleman 2003).

According to Johnson (2014) Emotional Intelligence may have a significant positive impact on cultural environment, revenue growth and profitability, strategic focus, engagement, innovation, employee turnover, and industry survival.

Mariah DeLeon, vice-president of people at Glassdoor, illustrates the significance of such in a quote:

‘While different companies embody various values and cultures, success in the workplace is strongly influenced by a person’s emotional intelligence, a quality that should be a non- negotiable when vetting job candidates’ (Sun 2016).


There are a multitude of methods in which Emotional Intelligence may be assessed in interviews.

These are largely based on the conception of questions aimed as evaluating aspects of a candidate’s personality.

Common focus areas could include achievements, failures, interests, habits, emotional responses, and the like.

You can create your own or there are abundant sources presenting commonly used questions.


An assessment of emotional intelligence can be the aspect of an interview that separates the good hires from the great.

What do you think? Do you implement Emotional Intelligence assessment in your hiring processes?


Emmerling, R.J & Goleman, D. 2003, Emotional Intelligence: Issues and Common Misunderstandings, Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations, viewed 15 March 2016,>Johnson, P. 2014, ’20 Emotional Intelligence Interview Questions’, LinkedIn Pulse, posted 16 December, viewed 15 March 2016,>Sun, C. 2016, 7 Interview Questions That Determine Emotional Intelligence, Entrepreneur, viewed 15 March 2016,>What is Emotional Intelligence? n.d., Psychology Today, viewed 15 March 2016,>What is Emotional Intelligence? n.d., Institure for Healthy and Human Potential, viewed 15 March 2016,>

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