Interviews can be challenging. Sometimes questions get skipped, then afterward you’re left wondering what you really know about the candidate. How do you get a real feel for their personality and emotional intelligence? It can also be difficult for interviewers to avoid simply following their own gut instincts and subjective impressions when making hiring decisions. Some candidates are able to perform their way through interviews in a way that makes them appear like a good fit, so it’s up to the hiring manager to dig deeper to truly understand them.

One of the most effective ways to measure the innate and extrinsic qualities of a candidate is by asking more thoughtful questions to learn how they manage their emotions. Try some of these questions to have a better interview with candidates in the future:

1. “What irritates you?” If you really want to know how a candidate perceives their environment and other people, and whether or not they will be a good fit with the rest of your team, ask them what types of things bothered at their last job them and how they handled the situation.

2. “How do you know when to ask for help?” Asking candidates how they manage their workload and how they know when to ask for help can be very insightful. Being able to be vulnerable and ask for help is a sign of emotional intelligence.

3. “How do you handle a bad day?” Since it’s something that everyone can relate to, it’s important for hiring managers to ask how candidates dealt with adversity in their past roles. Ideal candidates are those flexible enough to deal with uncertain and unpredictable situations.

4. “Do you have friendships that lasted after you left a job?” This is a great way to learn what a candidate values in other people. Lighthearted humor is often a good indicator of legitimate relationships but beware of candidates that describe former colleagues using sarcasm.

5. “Is there anything that you can teach me?” It’s a good way to keep a candidate from getting too comfortable during an interview. The most emotionally intelligent people will be excited to share their knowledge regarding something that you might not be familiar with. Beware of candidates who seems frustrated and impatient when you ask them for more details.

6. “How do you have fun?” This question can lighten the mood and give you a chance to get to know the candidate at a personal level.

7. “Who or what inspires you?” Although there are no wrong answers here, it can be very useful to know what or who a person draws their inspiration from.

8. “What kind of people would you hire if you were CEO of a company?” One of the best ways to measure emotional maturity is by posing hypothetical questions like this. It will help you to determine the type people like to collaborate with and their respective working styles.

9. “Tell me about one of your greatest accomplishments.” Answers can include personal or professional achievements. Emotionally mature candidates will give credit to others where credit is due.

10. “Take me through your life and be very specific.” Use this question to learn more about the candidate and see if they can make it interesting.


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