Does Your Top Candidate Have EI?

BY Kathy Crosett
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It’s time to make an offer to your top management candidate. She’s got a great reputation and a big profile in the industry. With her street cred, you and your company will finally be taken seriously. Before you call to make a job offer, check out her emotional intelligence – a key aspect of personality as discussed by Daniel Goleman.

In two Business Journal reports, Laura Fries summarizes the personality aspects associated with high emotional intelligence and how to screen for EI during interviews.  A candidate who has high brilliance and expertise in a specific field doesn’t always have a high EI.


High self-​awareness is associated with high emotional intelligence. Managers in your organization should be aware of how their interactions with team members impact performance. For example, they may realize that their basic personality type doesn’t mesh well with that of one of their subordinates. A mature and self-​aware individual will accept that fact and work harder to build a relationship. When there’s a disagreement, the self-​aware manager will step back and assess the situation. She’ll think about her actions instead of engaging in an emotional exchange that resolves nothing. To screen for levels of self-​awareness, ask your candidate what she’s done to improve her working relationship with a co-​worker or team member she’s had trouble with.

Relationship Management

Relationship management ability is another key indicator of emotional intelligence. In many organizations, certain groups of people tend to get along while other employees have been ostracized. Over time, these poor relationships impact the team’s effectiveness and the bottom line. A manager with high EI will often be able to  lead her team by modeling good behavior. Instead of taking sides in a disagreement, you want your manager to focus on the goal and work to reduce conflict between team members.  Fries points out that you can screen for effective relationship management skills by asking your candidate to explain what she’s done in the past to improve the work climate at her current company. Her verbal answer and her body language can tell you what you need to know.

If you follow Fries’ suggestion to spend between 20% and 30% of an interview weaving EI-​related questions between the questions you typically ask, you’ll have a better chance of bringing a person into your organization who will help to improve, not weaken, your organization’s culture.