Yes, having solid technical skills is important in landing a job, but maybe not as important as you might think. In fact, in a survey of more than 2,600 hiring managers and human resource professionals, 71% stated they valued emotional intelligence in an employee over IQ. What’s more, 75% said they were more likely to promote a highly emotionally intelligent worker; and 59% claimed they’d pass up a candidate with a high IQ but low emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence is going to be even more relevant for job hunting in the future too, the Future of Jobs Report from The World Economic Forum ranked emotional intelligence in the top 10 job skills required for 2020. Since more companies are paying attention to hiring people with high emotional intelligence, if you’re looking for a job it’s an important skill to demonstrate in your interview.
Here are 7 ways that to demonstrate emotional intelligence in a job interview:
1. Actively listen
Instead of focusing on a response to the question being asked, give all your attention on the question itself. Don’t give in to the urge that you have to answer the question immediately. Interviewers are looking for a thoughtful response, instead of an immediate one that indicates that you are giving them an answer that you have rehearsed. Repeat the question back in your own words to make sure that you understand it the way that it was intended. If you are not sure if you are answering the question ask the person asking it.
2. Show emotions
Many interviewees, due to nervousness, can came come across as wooden and tightly controlled. It’s not only okay to show some emotion, but the right emotions will form a connection between the interviewer and you. Smiling, as long as it doesn’t appear forced or inauthentic, is always good. Showing enthusiasm and some excitement is also good if it is real. The caveat is not to force any emotions. If the interviewers get a whiff that you are coming across as someone other than yourself, it will cause them to mistrust you and decrease your chances of getting the job.
3. Share the credit for your achievements
Take a cue from professional athletes when they are interviewed after a win or achievement. They always credit their team mates, their team, rather than taking personal accolades. When asked about a project that you are proud of, or that was successful, be sure to share credit with the team, unit, and others who were involved in the project. Make it clear that you are proud to be a member of the group that was involved in the success. This gives more credibility to you being a team player, than if you simply claim that you are, which everyone does.
4. Share how you are trying to improve yourself
The typical advice for answering a question about your weakness is to frame it as something that is actually a strength. For example, claiming to be a perfectionist, or becoming too involved in your job, which can be seem as strengths by an employer. These answers do not cut it any more, as interviewers are looking for something more substantial. When disclosing a weakness be sure to indicate what you are actively doing to work on it and give examples of making progress. Interviewers know that we all have weaknesses and suspect that we may try to hide those in the interview. As long as your weaknesses do not raise any red flags, being honest, open and genuine will help gain their trust and respect.
5. Don’t shy away from talking about conflict
For the question about your strengths, rather than only focusing on your qualifications or technical ability, talk about your ability to work well with others in a teamwork setting. Your ability to adapt to change or setbacks and work well with coworkers and customers is important to bring up. Instead of simply mentioning these things, be prepared to come up with examples of when you had to use those skills. Perhaps there was conflict within your unit or you had to deal with an irate customer. Talk about how you used your soft skills to effectively deal with these situations.