Three Emotional Intelligence Interview Questions to Hire for Humility!

Here’s a question for you: when you’re recruiting and interviewing, what do you look for in a candidate? What I mean by this is do you hire for fit, experience, or skill? And what about education, personality, and character? Or maybe it’s a combination of some of these? Most of us in human resources hire for the perfect combination of all of these aspects, which is why making a hiring decision can be so complicated. It seems that every company and hiring executive is looking for something different in its next top employee.

Employers should be looking for humility on resumes. A study by the University of Washington Foster School of Business showed that humble people tend to make the most effective leaders, and they are more likely to be high performers in both individual and team settings. But ‘Why?’ you might ask. Isn’t humility just a state of mind?

Hiring for humility means looking for “emotional intelligence,” which includes certain personality and character traits, like the ability to sympathize, a sense of humor, and communication skills. Google and other companies have realized through data collection that humility is one of the best qualities to have in an employee. Humble people tend to be honest people who can be taught, so they can grow and develop.

They are more respectful, curious, and inquisitive – which are also top leadership qualities. The best way to determine if a candidate is humble is by asking emotional intelligence interview questions, such as:

  1. “How would you handle this situation…?”
  2. “Tell me about a time you had to…” or
  3. “What would you do if…?”

According to researchers “humility entails the recognition and appreciation of knowledge and guidance beyond the self.”

It may sound strange, but some companies take a very different approach to recruiting and retaining talent. Media darlings like Zappos, Apple, and YAHOO! are infamous for trying new approaches when it comes to recruiting and evaluating talent. For instance, Zappos offer unhappy employees $2,000 to quit; an idea so popular that Amazon followed suit. Currently, Zappos has done away with “manager” titles, and has told employees to get behind the idea of managing themselves.

Richard Branson, Founder and Chairman of The Virgin Group, has said, “If you’re good with people and you really, genuinely care about people, then I’m sure we could find a job for you at Virgin.” Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, has said, “I look for a positive attitude and are they easy to work with, are people going to like working with them?” These statements are consistent with the emerging recruiting trend of hiring for humility, according to a Business Insider article.

3 Comments

  • Helen A. says:

    It is popular to hire for talent, but can you provide your talented employees with a job that fits their skills? If your objective is to grow and win over your competitors, you definitely have to look for talent. But if your workers cannot cope with a flow of clients and you are simply looking for some help, take someone who is simply ready to do what is required from day to day.

  • Lori Phillips says:

    The questions “How many golf balls can you fit into an airplane?” and “Who would you most like to have dinner with, dead or alive?” are worn out already. Once published as interesting conversation starters, they have been taken over by others as a call to action. They have been repeated so many times that now we read about them on any “How to Prepare a Great Job Interview” site.

  • Victoria K. says:

    You can hire either a talented person or someone who is going to become talented under your supervision. In the latter case, you’ll have to work hard, but you’ll get a perfect fit, coined especially for your company.

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