Step aside IQ. To the side, AI. EQ – also known as Emotional Intelligence – is quickly becoming the form of intelligence most sought-after by companies. It’s been ranked by the World Economic Forum as one of the top 10 skills important to the workplace of the future.  So what’s with the buzz around emotional intelligence in the workplace? And how can you prove it when you’re trying to get hired?

What is Emotional Intelligence?

To put it simply, EQ is IQ for your social interactions. Specifically EQ is a measurement of your capacity to recognize, control, and express your emotions, as well as recognizing and responding empathetically to the feelings of others. Someone with high emotional intelligence is able to self-regulate their emotions and understand why they feel a certain way. They also do an excellent job of putting themselves in another’s shoes. High EQ individuals are highly empathetic, conscientious, and read people well. To sum it up, they’re experts at navigating any social environment.

People with high emotional intelligence are seen by their peers as welcoming, empathetic, and resilient. They’re often good listeners that others easily put their trust it.

What is the importance of Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace?

In Employees

People who possess high EQ make for great coworkers. They are good at motivating both themselves and others. This means they’re more engaged at work and less likely to procrastinate, allowing them to focus on their long-term growth and development.   Additionally, they’re excellent collaborators.

These are the peers who you can confide in, count on, and genuinely enjoy working with.

In Managers

One of the key components of EQ for managers is the ability to empathize with their direct reports. Managers who have high emotional intelligence are able to understand the people on their team. They are great at resolving conflict and motivating their reports to complete goals as a group. When performance reviews role around, these managers give sincere feedback and are invested in the professional development of their employees.

These are managers who will help you launch your career and directly contribute to a meaningful work environment.

How to Demonstrate EQ in an Interview

71% of hiring managers value EQ over IQ these days. And since hiring managers are on the lookout for high EQ folks to add to their team, it’s important to know how to show off your EQ when you apply for a job.

It’s easiest to illustrate your emotional intelligence during an in-person interview. The conversational format lends itself directly to showcasing your situational awareness, social skills, and self-efficacy. Here are the three opportunities to highlight your emotional intelligence during an interview.

Your Introduction

Make that solid first impression. Introduce yourself to the receptionist or office manager. Treat everyone you encounter with respect and kindness. Greet and shake hands with each interviewer. Don’t be afraid to break the ice with some small talk. You can use this time to discuss your passions outside work and ask your potential boss and coworkers about theirs.

During the Interview

Listen to understand. Don’t just to blurt out the response you rehearsed in the mirror. Active listening is an important component of EQ and giving thoughtful answers will attest to this skill.

Don’t be afraid to admit your weakness. That age-old question: “What’s your greatest weakness?” leaves many would-be hires nervous. Remember that this question isn’t for you to talk about your personal short-comings. Focus instead on areas of professional weakness – and what you’re doing to address it. Since self-awareness is a key component of emotional intelligence, being able to identify your shortcomings and create a plan to improve is a strong indicator of high EQ.

Emphasize your relationship-building. Talk about how it’s helped you to accomplish your goals. Whether you were a team captain while in school, or your were involved in a volunteer group, talk able how your ability to work with others is a source of strength. No man is an island – especially in the working world. Companies want to bring on a team player and someone who will contribute positivity to their workforce.

Highlight instances where empathy was key. You’ll inevitably be asked to provide an example of when you went “above and beyond” the job. Think of a time you put the feelings of someone else’s before your own – either a customer’s or a coworker’s. Frame your actions in the context of the other’s emotions. It will clearly demonstrate your empathetic nature and your motivation to improve.

Ask introspective questions. Specifically, ask the interviewer if they have concerns about your qualifications or capability.  This lets you address (and resolve) any apprehension, while painting you as a conscientious person.

After the Interview

Send a thank you note. After you get home, email each interviewer a quick thank you note. Thank them for their time, ask or address a few follow-up questions, and keep the tone confident. Close by letting them know that you look forward to hearing from them. Sending a simple thank you note is a great way to keep the conversation going and continue to establish report with your interviewers.

With the rise of emotional intelligence in the workplace, you need to be able to highlight your social skills before getting hired. While it might seem like an abstract and difficult task at first, demonstrating your EQ will get easier. It’s time for the socially intuitive to shine!