EQ and The Interview

Have you heard of Meta-Cognition? Me neither, until recently. If you’re like me, it may have conjured up imaginings of Sci-Fi-esque brain-technology hybrids not out of place on a Marvel set, but upon further exploration it turned out to be a term to describe ‘the ability to think about your own thoughts’. Read ‘How to Boost your self-awareness and make better decisions’ by Stephen Fleming in the New Scientist 05May 2021 to find out more.  What a brilliant skill to have in an interview though; the self-awareness to nudge your thoughts and actions to achieve a desired outcome, a skill seemingly unique to humans.

It was not-so-recently reported that EQ, Emotional Intelligence measured as a Quotient, will be of growing importance in your working life skill-set along with the long established IQ.  Emotional Intelligence is your ability to understand and manage your own emotions (as well as being aware of the emotions of others) so self-awareness and meta-cognition fits nicely with this. Companies are looking for evidence at interview and some examples of questions that explore EQ are:

  • Can you tell me about a time you had difficulty collaborating with someone?
  • Tell me about a time you made a gut decision?
  • When was the last time you inspired someone and how did you do it?

Notice all these examples I have given lend themselves to the STAR technique to tell your non-fiction, short story of a time when. I explain more about STAR and interview techniques here.

Emotional Intelligence is built on empathy and it comes as no surprise that empathy is improved through active listening and reflection. I’m not saying I have high amounts of EQ but luckily for me it is a muscle that can be exercised rather than something that we may or may not be born with. We can build it up through creating a consistent practice of listening, reflecting and putting yourself in the shoes of others. Why have I brought you on this meandering journey through self awareness and EQ you may ask? Well it might nudge you to answer these types of questions better at interview with more self-awareness. And it will definitely nudge you into being a better colleague to work with when you get that job.

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