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Find Emotionally Intelligent Employees by Asking These Questions

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An emotionally intelligent employee is worth his or her weight in gold. Why? Because, employees with emotional intelligence are skilled in both the technical and relational aspects of a job. They understand how to self-motivate, work with difficult people, and help create a collaborative company culture. This makes them incredibly valuable to an employer.

When someone is emotionally intelligent, he or she can identify and manage personal emotions, as well as the emotions of others. In the workplace, being emotionally intelligent looks like cheering up a coworker who is having a bad day, noticing one’s own sour mood and not projecting it onto someone else, or deescalating an emotionally charged situation. When the majority of a workforce possesses this special type of intelligence, problems get solved long before they ever reach the HR department, and employees are more productive.

Find Emotionally Intelligent Employees by Asking These Questions

Every manager wants to find emotionally intelligent employees. However, only managers who ask questions that draw out a person’s emotional intelligence (or lack of it) will find these individuals. Make sure your next hire is self-aware and emotionally intelligent by asking questions like these:

  • “What is your superpower?” – This question may seem random, but it’s anything but that. The answer you get from a candidate will reveal his or her level of self-awareness, which is an indicator of emotional intelligence. It will also give you an idea of how confident the person is, which can be very helpful knowledge for a hiring manager to have.


  • “What area do you feel you need coaching in?” – Like asking “what is your superpower?”, asking what areas a potential employee needs coaching in will help you quickly discover how self-aware a person is. Also, this question gives a candidate room to be vulnerable, a trait which is usually present in an emotionally intelligent individual.


  • “How do you build trust with others?” – Of all the questions you might ask to assess emotional intelligence, this one may be the most effective. A candidate’s answer to this question will make it clear to a manager whether the job seeker truly knows how to establish trust with people, is good at manipulation, or has no idea how to build trust with others. Also, if an interviewee stumbles all over his or her answer, it could be a sign of low self-awareness.

Note: these questions were adapted from David Priemer’s article Sales Interview Questions for Assessing Emotional Intelligence.

As awareness of the importance of emotional intelligence in the workplace increases, so does the demand for emotionally intelligent employees. Stocking a workforce with emotionally intelligent workers may not be a cure-all for every workplace woe, but it is a darn good place to start.

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