The EQ interview finding employees high emotional intelligence part 4

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Q: Tell me about a time at work when others didn’t cooperate with you. • How would you analyze that situation? Q: Tell me about a conflict you had at work. • How would you analyze that conflict? Q: Have you ever unintentionally insulted or offended someone at work? • How did you handle that? Q: Tell me about a time when you reacted to something or someone in the workplace in a way that was not aligned with your intentions. • What did you do after this situation? KEY POINTS TO CONSIDER WHEN ASSESSING ANSWERS Awareness of Emotions or Thoughts The key information extracted by these questions indicates the candidate’s awareness that emotions exist and affect self and others. Once a candidate establishes her awareness of the impact of emotions, she improves her chances of being able to manage them. Some candidates deny that feelings or emotions exist. And although it may be true that some people are much more affable than others, it’s likely that at times, emotions affect all of us. With these types of questions, you can expect the interviewee to minimize the impact of the emotions, or discuss constructive actions that she takes to manage her reactions. But the bottom line is that a candidate who expresses awareness of her emotions is more likely to be able to manage her emotions than one who is unaware. Also, research demonstrates that people who are self-aware or mindful of their actions have more positive outcomes.10 When mindful or self-aware, we are provided with a window to examine our behaviors. If a candidate flatly denies any emotions at work, the candidate may be missing an opportunity to examine her behavior. Awareness of Triggers The candidate who knows himself can predict or understand his triggers. In fact, understanding and predicting one’s emotional reactions 24 THE EQ INTERVIEW to situations is central to self-awareness.11 By understanding what could cause or trigger a negative reaction, the candidate is much more likely to be able to manage himself by avoiding the situation or planning in advance for it. Look for follow-up statements that indicate that the candidate manages his reactions or takes steps to prevent the situation. When one candidate described a time when he purposely prepared himself to deal with a negative situation, he described a situation with a negative coworker. He said he knew that his coworker’s negativity affected his viewpoint, so he purposely changed his lunch routine. He said he didn’t find it useful to sit through lunch to hear his coworker’s negative comments about the job. These questions also give you important information about a candidate’s tolerance level. In work situations, candidates must interact with many different situations and people. Therefore, learning about a person’s tolerance and triggers provides useful information. You can also extract information relevant to fit. If a person relates that people and jobs that require a high level of interaction trigger a negative reaction, then it’s obvious that a job requiring lots of interaction isn’t an ideal fit for this candidate. Reflection Skills In the questions to assess reflection skills, the interviewer assesses how a person thinks or reflects about past situations. To help the candidate give straightforward answers, put the candidate at ease. Also, you may need to redirect the answer a few times because the candidate may want to focus on what she did to resolve the conflict or to get others to cooperate. Although that is important information that you should consider, the gist of the analysis should be about what the person thought about the experience. Did she rationalize? Did she assign blame to someone else? Or maybe she defended her actions as right. It’s also possible that the candidate thought she was helpless. In the analysis or reflection, the person’s answer should suggest that the candidate considered her own actions and what she could have done differently to be part of the solution. Holding oneself accountable would sound something like this: “Well, as I think back on this situation, I think I could have done [or said]. . . . If I had done this, I think I would have gained her cooperation sooner.” This person’s analysis of the situation and her behavior helps her to consider a better out- SELF-AWARENESS 25 come. This positive reflection can lead to learning. However, listen for that fine line between holding oneself accountable and beating oneself up. Beating oneself up or becoming so discouraged by a situation that the person vows never to try it again may demonstrate a lack of resilience. The bottom line is that holding ourselves accountable for the results of our behavior is important and can lead to new learning. Also, holding ourselves accountable for situations such as these generally translates into holding ourselves accountable for work goals and production numbers. Competency 3: Accurate Assessment of Skills and Abilities Accurate assessment of skills and abilities enables reflection, appraisal, and lifelong learning.12 When a person is blind to his skills and abilities, he is less apt to utilize them. These unrealized strengths may not be developed to their full potential. On the contrary, if a person is blind to his weaknesses or believes his skills are greater than they are, he is less open to development or feedback. This self-deception proves destructive and has performance consequences. A study in the British Dental Journal indicated that dental surgeons’ poor performance related to removal of a third molar was due to self-deception and the desire to convey a favorable impression.13 An article in Training and Development states, “When we have an inflated view of our achievements and capabilities, we are easily seduced by the approval and applause of others and we’re going to make mistakes assessing our own work and take on more than we can handle.”14 Another compelling reason to search for people with accurate self-assessment comes from the Journal of Applied Psychology, which states that there is a positive relationship between accurate self-assessment and commitment to change.15 Accurate self-assessment also helps people optimize the capabilities they possess and be aware of those they do not.16 During the interview process, questions designed to correct for self-deception and inaccurate assessment of skills and abilities prove valuable. Consider the following example. Colleen’s manager spoke to her several times about her need to develop better customer service skills. Colleen believed that her boss catered too much to customer demands. She believed that her skills were fine. When asked in an interview about 26 THE EQ INTERVIEW performance feedback she had received, Colleen said, “My manager told me that I should give in more to customer demands, but I think he should stop caving in every time a customer wants something.” Questions to Assess Accurate Assessment of Skills and Abilities Q: Describe a time when you received feedback about your performance and were in agreement. • What did you agree with? Q: Describe a time when you received feedback about your performance and you disagreed with that feedback. • What did you disagree with? Q: Was there ever a time when you initially disagreed with feedback you received and later came to accept it? • Tell me about that. Q: Were you ever surprised by criticism you received? • What was the criticism and why were you surprised? Q: What has been a consistent strength of yours? • What evidence do you have that this is an area in which you are strong? Q: What has been a consistent area of development for you? • How do you know that this is an area of development for you? Q: List three things you have learned about yourself in the last year that are relevant to the way you work. • How did you learn this information? • Describe a time when you used this new information. KEY POINTS TO CONSIDER WHEN ASSESSING ANSWERS The interview provides the interviewer or hiring manager with an opportunity to determine if the candidate possesses an accurate assessment of her skills. People who can accurately assess both their strengths SELF-AWARENESS 27 and their weaknesses operate without blind spots. They maximize their strengths and find ways to improve or mitigate their weaknesses. When a candidate accurately assesses her own skills, that candidate is in a better position to determine whether she will succeed in the job for which she is interviewing. The questions above prove difficult for candidates because they may feel a need to guard against telling the interviewer about a time when they were criticized. The interviewer must set the tone so that the candidate feels comfortable. Be sure to include questions that ask the candidate to point to evidence; the evidence helps you to determine whether the candidate bases her answers on objective data. For example, Jerry stated that his problemsolving skills are above average. When the interviewer asked Jerry for evidence or examples that support his claim, he wasn’t able to give specific data. He said things like, “Things come easy to me,” or “I always know where to look,” or “I just use my instincts.” In response to the same question, another candidate stated, “Well, I was asked to serve on a task force for reducing the error rates on our processing procedure. I was also assigned as a mentor to help new hires solve problems. I also was asked to review the troubleshooting guide that the engineering staff developed for our unit.” In the latter example, the evidence is specific and detailed. Another important question asks the candidate to think about a time when he received feedback that he initially disagreed with and later came to accept. If the candidate addresses this question, it would be very helpful to determine how the candidate came to internalize the feedback. It shows that the candidate became open-minded at some point about the feedback. In reality, what often occurs is that people receive feedback that they don’t agree with and then spend their time justifying their behavior or proving that the feedback is incorrect. Sometimes, indeed, the feedback is incorrect, but often it’s not and we spend our time resisting what could help us. 28 THE EQ INTERVIEW FIGURE 3.1 Self-Awareness at a Glance PROS CONS Impact on Others • Aware that his behavior affects others • Recognizes his negative behavior • Willingly takes action to change his behavior • Can read nonverbal behavioral cues from others • Blames his behavior on others • “Owns” no negative behavior • Expects others to accept his negative behavior • Struggles to identify nonverbal cues—even during the interview Emotional and Inner Awareness • Aware that her emotions exist and understands impact on behavior or performance • Can predict what triggers a negative reaction • Holds herself accountable when reflecting on behavior • Incorporates reflection as part of development • Uses reflection as a tool to determine how to modify future behavior • Denies any connect between her emotions and behavior and performance • Lacks awareness of triggers or incidents that cause an emotional reaction • Fills self-reflection with blame, justification, minimizing wrongdoing, or denying responsibility • Is unable to self-reflect Accurate Self-Assessment • Able to list both strengths and weaknesses • Able to provide evidence of both • Disputes feedback and does not examine behavior • Cannot provide any examples (continued) SELF-AWARENESS 29 FIGURE 3.1 Continued PROS • • • • strengths and weaknesses Acknowledges feedback as valuable Gives careful consideration of feedback from others Gives examples of strengths in terms of performance Gives examples of actions taken to improve weaknesses CONS • Sees evaluator as vindictive or ill informed • Dismisses feedback without consideration • When talking about strengths, has no sense of limitations • Unable to state strengths Endnotes 1. Elizabeth J. Rozell, Charles E. Pettijohn, and R. Stephen Parker, “Emotional Intelligence and Dispositional Affectivity as Predictors of Performance in Salespeople,” Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice (Spring 2006): 113. 2. D.R. Rhoades, K.F. MacFarland, and A.O. Johnson, “Speaking and Interruptions During Primary Care Office Visits,” Family Medicine (July–August 2001): 528. 3. Ken Myers and Greg Herbert, “Dynamic Listening: An IT Manager’s Key to Success with Staff, Customers and Clients,” IT Manager’s Journal (June 25, 2007), 4. Kerry L. Johnson, “How to Gain Your Client’s Trust—Fast,” CPA Journal 63, 9 (September 1993): 40–42. 5. P. Russell, “Managing the Stress of Workplace Change,” New Zealand Centre for Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, July 26, 2007, http://www.rational 6. Scott Beagrie and Justin McAvoy, “How to Handle Criticism,” Occupational Health 59, 5 (May 2007): 24–25. 7. Nivedita Debnath and Kanika T. Bhal, “Polarization of Perceptions of ITEnabled Privacy Violations at Workplace: Impact of Respondent Position, 30 THE EQ INTERVIEW 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. Peer Belief and Peer Pressure,” Global Journal of Flexible Systems Management ( July–September 2003): 15. Suzette Plaisance Bryan, “Emotional Intelligence and Intrapersonal Conversations,” Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations. E-Journal: Issues and Recent Development in Emotional Intelligence. August 20, 2007. John J. Engels, “ Delivering Difficult Messages,” Journal of Accountancy 204, 1 (July 2007): 50. Bryan, “Emotional Intelligence and Intrapersonal Conversations.” Adele B. Lynn, “A Quick Overview of Emotional Intelligence,” Hoosier Banker 86, 5 (May 2002): 16. A.W. Evans, R.M.A. Leeson, T.R.O. Newton John, and A. Petrie, “The Influence of Self-Deception and Impression Management upon Self-assessment in Oral Surgery,” British Dental Journal (2005): 765–769. Ibid. Mathew Hayward, “Check Your Ego for Workplace Success,” Training and Development 61, 3 (March 2007): 12. David M. Herold, Donald B. Fedor, and Steven D. Caldwell, “Beyond Change Management: A Multilevel Investigation of Contextual and Personal Influences on Employees’ Commitment to Change,” Journal of Applied Psychology 92, 4 (July 2007): 942. June I. Gravill, Deborah R. Compeau, and Barbara L. Marcolin, “Experience Effects on the Accuracy of Self-Assessed User Competence,” Information Management 43, 2 (April 2006): 378. SELF-AWARENESS 31 This page intentionally left blank CHAPTER 4 Self-Control or Self-Management Self-Control Inward Competency Competency Competency Competency Inward Outward 1—Emotional Expression 2—Courage or Assertiveness 3—Resilience 4—Planning the Tone of Conversations 33
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