How To Handle An Emotionally Unintelligent Interviewer

“In a very real sense we have two minds, one that thinks and one that feels” – Daniel Goleman

 

Good Morning Class! Take a seat and get cozy. Today’s topic of discussion: Emotional Intelligence (EQ) for short. Emotional Intelligence is a term that is getting thrown around more and more in today’s society. EQ is essentially the exponent to your IQ. While your IQ is strictly how much you know in terms of academia EQ measures how much you know emotionally. Specifically focusing on empathy, viewing other people’s emotions, and the self awareness and self management of your own emotions. Here’s the kicker, studies have found that the more emotionally intelligent you are, the more successful in your career you will be! However, some careers require a little more emotional intelligence than others. In today’s blog I’m going to discuss an experience of mine when I went on an interview and was met with a very Emotionally Unintelligent interviewer:

 

Preface- It was a cold February day here in Northern New Jersey. The position I was applying for was for a Pricing Analyst Position at a pretty cool company. The company was a tech start up and judging from their website were really creative and innovative. I was excited for this interview and an opportunity to speak with them! I should mention this specific interview was done via skype (another blog on that soon to come). My attire was killer, even though I felt weird sitting in front a of a computer screen in a suit jacket and with my hair done, I was feeling really self confident in my abilities to perform this job. I was ready for this interview:

 

Interview – As the interviewer called me in via Skype a nice girl (happy, but it was clear she was there to do business) appeared on my screen. She was probably in her early to mid 20’s, dressed business casual. “Hi Jess, how are you?” “It’s so nice to meet you” I said on my end. “Hi” She replied, “Why don’t you tell me what you already know about the company” in a toned that was between stressed and annoyed. After receiving that statement my primal sensors went off. Either this interviewer is having a bad day, or she might not be too great with people.

 

I did my homework on this company (as everyone should do for any interview they are on!) So I proudly recited when the company was founded, the products and services they provide, and why I found this company so interesting; being sure to include sincerity yet enthusiasm in my responses. She replied “ok, let me go over the benefits,” she then recited the benefits which were posted on the job description off a computer screen.

 

As an interviewee I’m already thinking something is up. A) This interviewer is having a terrible day B)This interviewer hates her job/isn’t into me C) This Interviewer is emotionally unintelligent. As the interview progressed I asked more questions about the company, position, and how I could add more value to the company through my skills. Every response was met with very melancholy at times apathetic responses. After I was finished asking questions I thanked the interviewer again so much for her time and the call was ended.

 

Conclusion/Reflection – In the course of 20 minutes I went from being over the top excited about a position, to really asking myself “do I want this position?” So what changed? On a primal level humans can detect danger or when other human beings are feeling uncomfortable (this is empathy and emotional intelligence) Three seconds into my interview I felt something was wrong due to the interviewers tone and facial expressions; this slight sense of discomfort triggered questions in my mind “what kind of environment, does this company provide?”or “this interviewer seems like she’s not a very good fit for this position, how will they ensure I’m a good fit?” These questions and many more hit me just a few seconds after the first impression of the interviewer.

 

So what can we learn? When dealing with an emotionally unintelligent interviewer/person there are a few things you can do. First, you want to be yourself. A person who has high EQ is very good at changing their mood to fit those around them, it’s so important to be yourself and that you feel comfortable. If an interviewer is displaying negative or apathetic behavior it’s only a reflection of the company culture (that’s why it’s so important for companies to choose wisely when deciding who will be on the front lines of their business.) The second tactic you can take is to show empathy. The more I reflected on the interview I felt I should have taken the initiative and responsibility to ask the interviewer if everything was alright? It seems that she might have been having a rough day. Looking back this might have been an effective method.

 

So I know you’re all dying to know, did I get the job!? Well after pondering on it, I decided that if I was offered the position I wouldn’t take it; as I don’t feel it would have been a good fit. As you can tell from most of the blogs on this site, company culture and environment is what drives people to be their best. Without a cultivating environment I personally don’t believe I could thrive. I think we owe it to ourselves from time to time to let our emotional minds take over, as sometimes it brings greater clarity and sobering thoughts than our logical minds.

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