How to spot emotional intelligence when you’re hiring

The hiring process can seem daunting. This is amplified in a market where getting the staff you need is even harder than normal. So – when you hire, you want to make sure it’s the right person that will fit the role, the organisation and the culture.

More organisations than ever are realising the value of discovering emotional intelligence during the interview and application process. It has been proven that people who have better levels of self-awareness, higher levels of awareness of others and other emotional intelligence competencies, can better connect, communicate and engage with their teams, their clients or customers and other stakeholders in the business.

How can you spot emotional intelligence in a candidate? Here are a few ideas of what to watch out for.

Pausing and thinking

A pause for thought says a lot more than many words could. If your candidate is careful and cautious when deliberating their answer, it shows they’re conscious of the importance of what they say.

Why does that matter? By carefully considering a response, people who are high in emotional intelligence can gauge the right and wrong thing to say in certain scenarios. In a workplace, this allows for clearer, honest conversations that don’t create animosity between employees. Fewer problems within your workforce and more efficient and productive days in the workplace!


When interviewing many people might feel they have to present themselves in the best way possible. But this is more than just putting on your best suit jacket or shoes.

Authenticity is a vital trait that you’ll often find in emotionally intelligent individuals. And it’s something that’s important to have more of within your organisation, too. The people who are the happiest and most comfortable will deliver the best work.

Showing empathy

Understanding the organisation and your people is something that you can’t always expect from candidates, especially when they’re not yet a part of your team. But some candidates will have done their research and explored their role, thanks to the job spec.

Look out for candidates who are already aware of the pain points that your business. Showing a desire to alleviate those problems and help your organisation achieve greater levels of success is something that’s extremely valuable in a new hire.

Asking questions with meaning

It sometimes feels like an obligation, but allowing candidates to ask questions about the role is often one of the more informative parts of the meeting.

Watch for people specifically who ask about the culture surrounding your business and how the leadership structure works. An interest in the people at the organisation at such an early stage of the process would indicate they’re people-focused and care about the culture.

A desire to help others, not help themselves

Similar to being empathetic, it’s important that staff are happy to work as part of a wider team. Staff who work for the greater good and bring others up with them are like gold dust. Conversely, staff who are driven by solely their own goals are often a cause for concern.

Want to be able to spot emotional intelligence more easily?

Emotional intelligence training teaches you a better understanding of your thoughts and those of other people. This is not only important in the hiring process, but it helps keep teams working better, leaders being more effective and your employees feeling engaged like never before.

If you’d like to talk to us about how emotional intelligence training can benefit your business every day, we’d love to hear from you. Call us or email us to get your journey toward a better workforce started.