Grow your career on

Advanced Search



Emotional Intelligence May Land You the Job

How to Demonstrate EQ in an Interview

By Bonnie Johnson,



We’re all familiar with IQ, or Intelligence Quotient. For years people assumed that IQ was the source of a person’s success. However, researchers were curious why people with average IQs often outperform those with high IQs. What they uncovered was another component to success– Emotional Intelligence or Emotional Quotient (EQ).

EQ is a person’s ability to identify and manage their own emotions and the emotions of others. EQ allows you to handle yourself and relationships in challenging circumstances at home and work.

A person’s EQ, therefore, drives performance in the workplace.

So how do you show a prospective employer your EQ in an interview?

Employers will assess your EQ by asking interview questions that require emotional and behavioral answers, for example:


  • What skills do you possess that any employer would find to be valuable, no matter what the position or business type? How do you demonstrate these skills?
  • Have you ever worked with a person that you clashed with? Have you been able to overcome differences and establish a good working relationship?
  • You are in a meeting and a co-worker brings up an idea that you disagree with; how do you manage your reaction?
  • Describe an issue you’ve experienced in the workplace and what you did about it. How did you feel about the resolution? How did other team members feel about the solution?
  • What are your weaknesses, and how are you working to overcome them?
  • When you need a break or a mental recharge at work, what do you do?


When developing your answers to these questions, think about and give examples of times that you’ve 1) recognized your own emotions, 2) understood the feelings of others, 3) differentiated between varying emotions, and 4) used this information as a guide to successfully interact with others.

For example, perhaps you were working on a team and had a disagreement with members about the direction the project should take. You took the time to ask questions to understand their point of view and the reasons behind it, reiterated your position and communicated your reasoning, led the brainstorming session to determine the best course of action, and then ultimately worked together to create a successful project utilizing input from all team members.

Your emotionally intelligent answer should include more details based on your personal experience. Maybe a team member was hesitant to develop a new service for fear it would make their job obsolete. This is a prime example for candidates to demonstrate EQ skills like empathy, listening, flexibility and decision-making.

The employer may even ask you to fill out an emotional intelligence assessment, like the Emotional Intelligence Appraisal, to determine your cultural fit with the organization.

No matter what your answers would be to interview questions or test results, the terrific news is that EQ can be developed! Emotional intelligence encompasses a set of skills that can be learned and improved.

Find out more about EQ in our Importance of Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace blog, or from the following sources:

Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves

Crucial Competence: Emotional & Social Intelligence in Leadership by Daniel Goleman.