6 must-ask interview questions to assess emotional intelligence

broker-shaking-hands-224097-edited.jpgEmotional intelligence is the hidden super power that separates top performers from the rest.

Emotionally intelligent people are far more likely to be successful, not because of luck, but because they’ve mastered the 11 psychological skills we cover in this ebook. People are far more likely to do business with those they like, even if a better deal exists elsewhere.

As a commercial real estate professional, your ability to detect emotional intelligence in others is just as important as your ability to operate with emotional intelligence yourself. You might feel like a one-man show at times, but the people with whom you surround yourself will either help or hurt your chances of success. So when interviewing job candidates, you need to sharpen your emotional intelligence detection skills.

Here are some revealing interview questions to keep in your back pocket:

1. Can you describe a time you failed?

Everyone makes mistakes, that’s a given. But not everyone recovers from those mistakes gracefully, nor does everyone know how to take accountability for failure.


This is an incredibly important interview question to ask because it gives you a glimpse into what the candidate is like when things aren’t going their way. Do they shirk responsibility and blame those around them? Do they wallow in self pity? Do they ignore the problem altogether?

If the candidate answers the question in a way to make you believe any of these traits are true, then you might want to keep looking. In an ideal scenario, the candidate is able to point to a time things went wrong, admit fault and present a learning or plan for improvement.

2. Why do you want this job?

Often, candidates will get so caught up in the prospect of a bigger paycheck and better office that they forget that the job they are interviewing for is just that: a job. Candidates who fail to realize that employment with your organization requires a give AND take will be toxic to your company culture.

The ideal candidate answers this question by first stating what they bring to the organization, not what they plan to get from it.

3. How would you handle a situation in which you disagreed with me or another supervisor?

Another important hallmark of emotional intelligence is the willingness to disagree with others in order to stand up for what you believe in.

Do you really want to hire unopinionated pushovers? You shouldn’t if you want your organization to evolve and grow.

Try to get a glimpse at how the candidate handles conflict by asking them to describe a situation in which they disagree with you and how they would react. If they immediately defer to you, then they might not have the confidence to back up their own beliefs. And if they are too aggressive, then they might be problematic in the future. Look for a respectful yet impassioned response.

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4. Why are you leaving your previous company?

The urge to vent about why you are leaving a bad job can feel insurmountable, but a qualified candidate will answer this question with tact nonetheless.


Not only is someone who bashes their previous employer a liability
(how might they act in front of clients?), they are wasting your time and theirs. According to what Daniel Goldman calls, “the ventilation fallacy,” this type of negativity makes you feel worse instead of better. People who don’t realize this are likely to bring negativity to your work environment.

5. Can you speak about a mentor or colleague you admire and why?

Commercial real estate is a competitive field, but that doesn’t mean you should hire people who use negativity to take others down. Use this question to determine how the candidate speaks about others—chances are, it will tell you quite a bit about who they are as a person.

According to a phenomenon known as spontaneous trait transference, people tend to associate you with the words you use to describe others. This means that if the candidate is able to speak admiringly of their colleagues, mentors or even competition, then those people are likely saying the same of them.|

6.Do you have any questions for me?

Beyond all of the obvious questions like, “How much would I get paid,” and “when will you be making an offer,” you should be looking for someone who asks questions that demonstrate preparedness and genuine curiosity.

Did they go out of their way to research you, the company, and some of your biggest deals? Are they interested in what the future might look like? Or are they just looking to see what they can get out of the job? Often, the questions a candidate asks reveal more about them than their answers to yours.

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Topics: Best Practices