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  • Dermot Dennehy

10 behavioural-based interview questions to spot high emotional intelligence in an interview

Updated: Apr 17, 2023




Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to recognize, understand, and manage one's own emotions and the emotions of others. It is a crucial trait for effective leaders and managers, and companies that prioritise EI in the hiring process can reap significant benefits.


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Behavioural-based interview questions are one tool that can be used to assess EI in candidates during an interview. These questions are designed to assess how a candidate has handled situations in the past and can provide insight into their emotional intelligence. Here are ten behavioural-based interview questions that can help spot high emotional intelligence in a candidate:



Read the reasoning behind the question to frame your question as you may have heard of some of these and plan to skip past them!

  1. Can you give an example of a time when you had to deal with a difficult team member and how you handled the situation? This question assesses the candidate's ability to empathise and communicate effectively with others, as well as their ability to manage emotions in challenging situations.

  2. Describe a time when you had to make a difficult decision. How did you go about making that decision? This question assesses the candidate's ability to think critically and make sound decisions, as well as their ability to manage emotions during times of uncertainty.

  3. How do you handle stress? Can you give an example of a particularly stressful situation you've had to deal with and how you coped with it? This question assesses the candidate's ability to manage emotions and stress, as well as their ability to remain calm and composed under pressure.

  4. Can you tell me about a time when you had to admit you were wrong? How did you handle the situation? This question assesses the candidate's ability to admit mistakes, take responsibility, and learn from their mistakes, as well as their ability to manage emotions and maintain humility.

  5. Describe a time when you had to work with a diverse team. How did you handle any cultural or communication challenges? This question assesses the candidate's ability to work effectively with people from different backgrounds, as well as their ability to understand and appreciate different perspectives.

  6. Tell me about a time when you had to give feedback to a team member. How did you handle the situation? This question assesses the candidate's ability to communicate effectively, as well as their ability to give and receive feedback constructively.

  7. Can you tell me about a time when you had to resolve a conflict between team members? This question assesses the candidate's ability to mediate, negotiate, and resolve conflicts effectively, as well as their ability to manage emotions and maintain a professional demeanour.

  8. Describe a time when you had to handle a difficult customer or client. How did you approach the situation? This question assesses the candidate's ability to handle difficult interactions with others and manage emotions while providing excellent customer service.

  9. Tell me about a time when you had to adapt to a new or unexpected situation at work. How did you handle it? This question assesses the candidate's ability to adapt to change and handle uncertainty, as well as their ability to manage emotions and remain resilient.

  10. Can you give an example of a time when you had to inspire or motivate your team to achieve a goal? This question assesses the candidate's ability to lead and inspire others, as well as their ability to manage emotions and create a positive and motivating work environment.




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