Finding qualified candidates for construction careers can be challenging during a skilled labor crisis. Although many candidates might look good on paper based upon their dependability, education, and previous accomplishments, their soft-skills might not be the best fit for the mission of your organization. So, a growing number of employers seek candidates who display signs of emotional intelligence, because those who possess this trait can benefit their organizations in a variety of different ways.

Benefits of Hiring Candidates with Emotional Intelligence

  • Stronger Teamwork
    Those with higher emotional intelligence provide good construction leadership and encourage teamwork by being collaborative, respectful, and thoughtful.
  • Easier to Adjust
    Employees with this characteristic are typically more flexible regarding change than those without it.
  • More Self-Awareness
    Employees who possess a higher level of emotional intelligence are willing to accept constructive criticism without it harming their morale.


Since it cannot be taught, compassion can be one of the most valuable assets among those working construction jobs because it helps build trust and boost the camaraderie of a team.

How Do I Asses Emotional Intelligence in the Interview?

One of the best ways to gauge the level of a candidate’s emotional intelligence is to ask them some specific questions during the interview. Here are some good questions to ask.

  1. Give me an example of a competitive situation in which you prevailed. How did you feel about winning?
    Look for a specific positive description of winning. Seek candidates who not only credit themselves for winning, but also their teammates and those who helped them along the way.
  2. What is the worst thing that ever happened to you?
    Look for the ability to overcome extreme adversity. Personal and professional life can be full of unpredictable variables. A candidate with a high level of emotional intelligence should provide an answer regarding how they solved the problems that they were confronted with.
  3. How do you handle people who object to your ideas?
    Look for attempts to understand the other point of view before taking action. Candidates with emotional intelligence will also be skilled at compromising with colleagues in order to successfully complete a job.
  4. In what sports do you excel?
    Look for activities where high energy will be a major factor in success. Since a majority of Fortune 500 CEOs played college sports, excelling in sports can be a good indicator of future success.
  5. Give me an example of when you had to discipline yourself to learn a difficult skill.
    Look for a willingness to sacrifice in order to achieve. Emotional intelligence helps people adapt and overcome most challenges that they are presented with in both their personal and professional lives.
  6. What kinds of activities would you like to get into in the future? When will you do this?
    Looking for a desire to enrich one’s life and be time specific about when the activity will be started.

Candidates who lack emotional intelligence will typically express negativity towards former bosses, coworkers, etc. Bad social skills, disrespectfulness, laziness and suspicious body language are all potential warning signs of low, or no emotional intelligence.

Are you ready to build your dream team?

The Birmingham Group is a tenured construction recruiting firm dedicated to helping you build your dream team. If you are ready to take a proactive approach to recruiting and retention, reach out today to discuss a custom recruitment strategy.