Mastering Emotional Intelligence in Job Interviewing

Did you ever feel like you were in a job interview where you didn’t connect well with the hiring managers? 

Were some of their questions awkward and you didn’t know how to answer them? 

Did you think there wasn’t a good connection between what you were being asked and how you answered the questions?

If so, this could be a telltale sign that you weren’t invoking strong emotional intelligence. Perhaps, your emotional intelligence in that job interview might have been slightly off, and it’s your responsibility to fix that. 

Lucky for you, emotional intelligence is a learned skill you can master with some know-how, practice, and self-awareness.

First and foremost, it’s important to understand what “emotional intelligence” is by definition. Emotional Intelligence is a term created by two researchers, Peter Salavoy and John Mayer, and popularized by Dan Goleman in his 1996 book titled “Emotional Intelligence. Why it can matter more than IQ.” They define E.I as the ability to: “recognize, understand and manage our own emotions, and to recognize, understand and influence the emotions of others.”

Being self-aware of your own mannerisms, tone of your voice, your stress levels, and how you manage your own emotions during the job interviews can be crucial to how you connect with hiring managers.

If you’re anything like I am, being in a job interview can be stressful for a variety of reasons. You are in unfamiliar territory or a new location, meeting new people, answering questions that might surprise you, and, all the while, you are doing your best to make sure you present yourself as well as possible because you desperately want the job. 

Keeping your emotions and stress levels in place can be a daunting task. 

One of the biggest keys to mastering the job interview is being prepared.

If you properly do your research on the company, the role, and most importantly the hiring managers, you will feel more comfortable in these situations. 

Some basic steps you can do are:

  1. To review the job description, job responsibilities, job requirements, and qualifications several times prior to going into the interview.
  2. Figure out what questions they are likely to ask you and properly prepare the answers for each question.
  3. Practice these answers in the mirror or with friends or family prior to the meetings.
  4. If you can, record your answers to challenging questions you know they will ask you in the interview. Then, watch the recordings to figure out if you can catch problems or difficulties you have in your tone of voice, mannerisms, or how you answer the question.
  5. Do your research on the hiring managers. Find out who they are, their titles, their backgrounds, and a little bit about what they do. This could help you to feel more comfortable in answering their questions because you know a little bit about what they are like before meeting them.

Even if you do all of these things, you still have to make sure you calm your own emotions, and become self-aware of what you are thinking and feeling during the job interviews.

  • Do your best to be in the present moment.
  • Listen very intently.
  • Watch the mannerisms, tone of voice, and gestures that the hiring managers use when asking the question.
  • Think about what problem they are trying to solve by asking the question.
  • Think about what point of view they might be coming from before giving them your answer. The old adage, “put yourselves in their shoes” could prove quite useful in this situation.

Feeling your way around an interview can be difficult but it’s important to “read the room” to understand the energy, pressures, and levels of stress of the job interviewers. That includes watching how they interact with you, their tone of voice, looking for signs and body language they portray in their questions and discussions with you.

If you need help with Emotional Intelligence and calming your nerves before the interview, I highly recommend doing focused breathing, meditating or quieting your mind in a private place 10 minutes before interviewing. This can have a profound impact on how you present yourself and what types of feelings you convey in the interviews.

When your levels of stress and cortisol levels in your blood are low, you are able to properly relax, and communicate clearly and concisely. This can make all of the difference in the comfort level and personal connection with the person asking the questions.

There are so many factors in having emotional intelligence in the interviews. If you spend time working on your stress, emotions, and your own self-awareness, you are more likely to be able to feel if this is the right job or right company for you.

Emotional Intelligence in Job Interviewing is a learned skill that must be mastered to be able to get the job you desire. With a little practice, you can learn and grow your skills in this area.

Overcoming the Peter Principle to Advance Your Career

Advancing your career in your current company or a new company isn’t always an easy thing to do. There are often roadblocks internally in your organization. It makes sense to first look within your own company for career advancement. If you can’t find a good opportunity to advance your career and skills set within your company, then looking at other companies is the next best thing to do.

Organizational hierarchies in companies follow rules on how to get to the next stage in your career. What holds a candidate back in their skills set? Your current skill set is your offering to advance your career. Many companies don’t have advanced learning or teach new skills. This can stifle and suppress employees into a role or position that doesn’t allow them to grow properly. When it’s up to you to develop, and learn new skills, that can be a daunting task yet it’s the best way to grow into a job that offers you career advancement, more responsibility, and ultimately more money.

There is a book and principle developed in 1968 titled “The Peter Principle” written by Dr. Laurence J. Peter that is based on the idea that employees will continue to be promoted, but at some point, will be promoted into positions for which they are incompetent. These employees will stay in those positions because they do not show any further competence that would get them recognized for further promotions.

In other words, an employee will be promoted into a role where they will stay until they prove incompetent to get promoted into a new role. What proves them incompetent in that role is the fact that they don’t possess the skills to excel in the in the job they currently have. This often boils down to training and skills development within companies. When companies don’t offer training or skills development, they run the risk of losing the employee to other companies that will value the training and skills that the employee has.

This is where it’s up to the employee, or job candidate that wants to advance their career, to help themselves by doing external learning or development of their skills set. When the career professional develops new skills and experiences in advanced learning or training they will likely be able to either get promoted within their company or advance their career with a new company in a new job opportunity.

Overcoming the Peter Principle is up to the individual employee and job candidate if the company is unwilling or unable to develop new skills. Advanced learning, higher education, new training, certifications, and outside professional development can be found everywhere now. I recommend starting by researching what type of job you want or how you want to advance your career into a specific role and then finding out which skills you need to possess to advance your career and get the job you’re looking for. From there, you can take the courses or get certifications to develop the skills set to advance your career.

There are many learning resources out there in higher education and online course and certifications now. You will not have trouble finding what you are looking for once you decide where it is you want to be, and stick to that goal. This can be a rewarding professional experience that can help you overcome the Peter Principle and advance your career.

The Power of Pure Intention

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When I first started recruiting and working with candidates, I remember thinking how it was almost impossible to make a placement. I thought, almost every time I got a new job order from a company, the requirements they had for their job opening were overwhelming.

When I combined all the variables in the ideal candidate’s required experience, it seemed to be too daunting of a task. Evidently, I didn’t believe it was easy, and the results showed.

I wasn’t making a lot of placements the first 3 years of my career. I didn’t feel like I was making an impact in companies or the candidates’ lives. I felt I wasn’t reaching enough people. I was trying to make money for my business but it wasn’t working out how I had planned.

I started to really dive deep into my psychology of what I was really trying to accomplish in my career. I decided to ask myself, “Was I asking myself the right questions when I was recruiting?”
It was then that I realized what I was really thinking about when I started recruiting. I was thinking about making a placement to make money for myself and my company.

I decided I needed a shift in my perspective and my thinking. I asked myself why I started working in recruiting. I wanted to help people.

Shortly after, I came to the realization that making a placement was so much bigger than the compensation my company was paid for placing an Executive candidate; it was really all about the impact I was making in others’ lives.

I started to understand that when I placed a candidate at a company, I’m impacting hundreds, if not, thousands of lives. Please, let me explain.

When I place the right person at the right company, I’m impacting that person’s life, that person’s family, that company’s hiring managers, that company’s hiring managers’ families, that company’s workers, that company’s workers’ families, that company’s customers, that company’s customers’ families, and lastly, myself, my company, my family, and my company’s families.

Many of these people I will never know and I will never get a chance to talk with yet I wish the best for them all. Somehow, my efforts and best intentions help their lives in some small way.
When I see it from this 10,000-foot view point, I can see that the impact is so much bigger than making a placement for myself or my company.

When I had this epiphany and I changed my point of view that I was impacting the greater good of thousands of people, my entire business changed. Most importantly, my entire psychology of why I was in this business changed.

Intention was everything. The law of attraction was coming into play in every activity, every call, every send out, every thought, and every word I spoke with both my candidates and my clients. From that day forward, I understood what it meant to have true integrity and virtue in my business.

For me, self-integrity and self-virtue means ALWAYS having the best intentions for the greater good. The greater good of the candidate. The greater good of the company I’m working with. The greater good of business’s success, and ultimately the greater good of everyone involved.
I know this because I’ve lived it.

I was taught from a young age that my reputation, my word, and my integrity were everything. If you don’t build solid foundations of trust and honesty, how can you build a good business, a good company, a good reputation?

I intend to live my personal life the way I was raised with the values I was given. Why should my business be any different?

When I started having the greatest good of intentions in my interactions with clients and candidates, I started seeing results. It took some time. I was building trust and momentum. I was building a foundation for people to enjoy working with me. I was building strong communication, and I was building unshakable relationships.

Building these relationships weren’t always easy. It often took me saying the tough things to my candidates. I told them the truth about the real benefits but also the real challenges and negatives to the opportunity. I would disclose everything to be transparent.

I started being up front about why they shouldn’t pursue the job if it didn’t offer enough money, or it wasn’t the right company culture for them, or it wasn’t a good fit for their family goals. It sometimes took me being the “bad guy” and telling a company’s hiring authority why the candidate wasn’t going to be right for them.

These things weren’t easy but they were the right thing to do. My intention was pure. I wanted what was best for everyone involved.

When I started having these tough conversations about difficult topics, I started realizing what it means to have integrity. It might have killed some short-term deals but it built long-term trust.


As time went on, I started seeing how it was impacting my business. Within a few years, my candidates and customers started coming back quite often. They trusted, with sincerity, that I was going to do my best to help them. They knew I was going to be honest with them and do the right thing.

That’s when I started seeing a lot more placements. That’s when I started to see my business take off. That’s when I started seeing the real results of many repeat customers and repeat candidates.


And to this day, when I start to worry about how I need to make a placement to pay for my business expenses or when I get concerned during down economic times, I remind myself what my intention really is. I remind myself why I’m really a recruiter. I remind myself of the power of having the best intentions and how it transforms the lives of thousands of other people in the process.

Stress Makes Us Stupid in Job Interviewing

Stress Makes Us Stupid”

I was attending an Executive Recruiting speakers event yesterday and the topic of job interviewing came up. The famous recruiting trainer, Greg Doersching, was discussing why candidates fail in the interview stages.

Almost always, behavioral interview questions were the main job interview questions that human resource managers are going to ask you in a job interview. Greg was talking about things to say in an interview, what to say in an interview, what not to say an interview, and how to ace an interview.

He expanded his thoughts into the psychology of job interviewing.

Greg started talking about how job interviews are stressful.

This topic about the stress that candidates feel in job interviewing hit me like a ton of bricks because it was a topic that I learned a lot about recently when I read the famous book by Daniel Goleman and Dr. Travis Bradbury, “Emotional Intelligence.” The authors have a famous quote in the book, “Stress makes us stupid.”

I will spare you the exact chemical neuroscience of why “stress makes us stupid” but the idea is that when we get stressed our brains get flooded with the famous chemical, “dopamine.” Dopamine triggers our primitive “animal brain” from centuries of evolution and, this in turn, stops our emotional control, and our ability to problem solve and think intelligently.

Essentially, we go into flight or fight mode where we don’t think work collaboratively, think strategically or intelligently, and our brains begin to encourage instantaneous decision making in the moment. We don’t think of the greater good or look at the big picture. We have no sense of long term analysis.

As I listened to Greg speak, I couldn’t help but notice the common theme here. Not only does “Stress make us stupid.” But job interviewing is stressful and therefore a lot of candidates don’t know how to interview or don’t know what to say in an interview because of the stress they feel during the interview.

In essence, dopamine floods the brain during a job interview, you go into fight or flight mode, and you can’t logically discuss your previous experience. You can’t remember your past successes and details of how your career in the past to articulate these details to the hiring manager.

If you can’t pull from your memories and successes in your career, how in the world are you going to be able to explain why you are going to be a great candidate to the hiring manager?

Because of this, you’ve failed to show the hiring manager WHY you are the person they should hire.

Why am I telling you this?

I’m telling you this because I have solutions that can help you. I know of a way that can help you break free from this stress, and calm yourself during the job interviews.

The solution is to be extremely prepared and ready for these standard human resource questions.

You must PRACTICE and WRITE DOWN the answers to the behavioral questions that you know they will ask you.

You must write down old fact, numbers, percentages, and details of job situations, scenarios, and experiences and how they’ve helped you shape your career.

This way, the hiring manager can see your past in a clear way. They can see how you’ve grown in your career and also how you’ll be able to be a good employee for their company in the future.

When you have the behavior interview questions and your exact answers ready for to be answered on a document in front of you, you won’t panic or get stressed when asked these questions.

I’ve created a document that can help you learn how to ace the interview. This is an interview preparation sheet that will help you chart your answers in a very simple spreadsheet.

It only takes a few minutes to write down this information that will help you in the interviews.

Please contact me as soon as possible, and I’ll be happy to send you this document for free.

This interview preparation document will help you tremendously.

Having these questions written down in front of you during the phone interview is going to stop the stress.

Really, it’s an interview cheat sheet that will give you an edge over other candidates.

It will help you think logically, strategically, and to be able to pull your experiences and successes from the past to clearly discuss them with the hiring manager in the interview.

The take away is this; remember that “stress makes us stupid.”

You will only get stressed if you’re not fully prepared for the job interview.

Being fully prepared before the interview is the solution to help you ace the job interview.