5 Ways To Let Your EQ Shine in Your Next Interview

90% of top performers have high EQ – and earn an average of $29,000 more per year than those with low EQ.

EQ stands for emotional quotient – your emotional intelligence, or your ability to control your emotions and think about problems calmly and rationally.

According to TalentSmart, emotional intelligence is the strongest predictor of performance, and has become a critical component of the interviewing process, explaining a full 58% of success in all types of jobs.

“Emotional intelligence describes general emotional awareness, enabling you to recognize specific emotions and address them appropriately,” writes Indeed. “Many experts now recognize that IQ is not the only determinant of success and is one factor of many influences, including emotional intelligence.”

How can you improve your EQ and stand out from other candidates in your next interview?

5 Ways To Let Your EQ Shine

1: Portray Confidence

The moment you step into the interview, you are immediately being judged. Body language is crucial. Confident people sit up straight and look people in the eye (where culturally appropriate!). They minimize fidgeting, which can be a sign of nervousness or deception. Those who are confident also smile and nod when appropriate.

In addition, confident answers are delivered calmly rather than rushed. If you tend to babble, make a conscious effort to slow down your speaking for the interview. Take a second or two before answering each question, but don’t make it seem like every answer is scripted.

Enunciate clearly and alter your tone of voice to match the mood of the conversation.

2: Talk Growth, Not Just Skills

One clever technique to set yourself apart is to talk about your career growth, not just about the skills you have. Tell a story about a challenge you had and how you overcame it.

“The ability to acknowledge and learn from mistakes is a strong indicator of high EQ,” wrote Top Interview. Your interviewer doesn’t expect you to be perfect. Instead, they expect you to be honest. Challenges are how we grow and get better. Don’t shy away from your mistakes. Embrace them.

Another great way to demonstrate growth is to share how you’ve dealt with conflict. Effective conflict resolution is a critical component of EQ. Before the interview, have a few examples of past conflicts ready. Talk about them confidently. Storytelling is a great way to connect with your interviewers; most job candidates don’t do this.

3: Interview the Interviewer

Remember, taking on a new job needs to be the right decision for you as much as them. Don’t come across as desperate. Instead, act like you are a sought-after candidate and this employer is just one among many others. This isn’t an opportunity to be arrogant. By interviewing the interviewer, you are showing that you are actively invested in your career.

In other words, you won’t just take any job.

And don’t be afraid to ask questions of your own. Ask about opportunities for advancement. As a hiring manager, I’ve had candidates ask me why I like working for my employer. I could tell they were selective in the places they worked. I liked seeing that in the candidates that I interviewed. The interview should be a two-way conversation.

4: Actively Listen

Instead of giving rehearsed answers to questions, actively listen during the interview. Read your interviewers. Try to understand the areas of business where they struggle the most. Then, tailor your answers around those struggles.

For instance, if your interviewers are looking for experience in one or two specific software products, prioritize those products while giving your answers.

In addition, be sure to answer each question thoroughly. Your interviewers will notice if you consistently miss a portion of their questions. And this could reflect negatively on your attention to detail. Worse, they might think you’re trying to hide something.

“Active listening involves more than just hearing someone speak,” writes Verywellmind. To fully master the art of active listening:

  • Pay attention to the other person (avoid distractions like cell phones, etc.)
  • Paraphrase the question before answering (unless it’s a simple question)
  • Don’t judge the other person or imply it’s a stupid question
  • Wait before answering, even if you know the question being asked

Listen closely to each question. Then, deliver a complete tailored answer.

5: Ask Good Questions at the End

Before ending each interview, I would always ask the candidate if they had any questions for me. Most candidates said no, or, “I think you already answered my questions.”

Resist the temptation to bail without asking a question or two. Candidates that ask meaningful questions at the end of the interview have an advantage in hiring. Asking questions improves your chances of getting hired.

Here are several good questions to ask before leaving the interview:

  1. Can you tell me about the team of people I would be working with?
  2. What are the opportunities for advancement available in this position?
  3. What type of office traditions do you have here?
  4. Who would be my direct supervisor?
  5. What is your favorite part about working here?
  6. What kind of soft skills would help me to excel in this position?

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This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.


Steve Adcock is an early retiree who writes about mental toughness, financial independence and how to get the most out of your life and career. As a regular contributor to The Ladders, CBS MarketWatch and CNBC, Adcock maintains a rare and exclusive voice as a career expert, consistently offering actionable counseling to thousands of readers who want to level-up their lives, careers, and freedom. Adcock's main areas of coverage include money, personal finance, lifestyle, and digital nomad advice. Steve lives in a 100% off-grid solar home in the middle of the Arizona desert and writes on his own website at SteveAdcock.us.