Interviewing For Emotional Intelligence & Maturity

#Retail Interviewing For #JobFit & #CulturalFit

Creating a culture that is based on Core Values and Workplace Happiness is a responsibility of the company to their employees. Providing a culture as has that focus on values is definitely conducive to higher engagement, higher productivity, and higher profits. However…the employees must meet the company in their work ethic and quality of work. They need to bring self-motivation and the desire to be developed. They need to embrace the company values and work, also, to create their own happiness at work. Not everyone will fit into the company culture nor is every candidate able to meet the basic needs of a job.

Ensuring that you are publishing a thorough and honest job description will absolutely help clarify the expectations of the role. Some of the things I send to candidates that I have scheduled interviews with are:
-Full detailed Job Description
-Company Culture Description (PowerPoint presentation that includes Brand information, Company Values, Testimonials from employees)
-Five minute culture video showing our business
-Company Dress Code (I want them to show up closely representing who we are as a brand)
-Sample Schedule, Hours Required, Blackout Calendar
These are sent 72 hours before the interview via email. This has helped set the tone of the business, the expectation of the candidates participation in the workplace, and the expectation of the candidates contribution to the business. One thing I have found by providing the candidates this specific information that the candidates bring their true personality to the interview (and I have had some opt out because of the information provided – which saved everyone time and, ultimately, money [assessments, background checks, etc.]).

There is a wealth of interviewing information online and about the standard interview questions that a candidate is likely to be asked. Candidates have practiced the right answers. They know what the employer wants to hear and can quickly and adequately answer the questions. It is time for a major reinvention (if you expect something more than “sheep” in your stores).

Interviewing for “Emotional Intelligence” and “Emotional Maturity” is a great trending industry topic right now. I love it and use it to ensure that I am interviewing people are are mature, responsible, and have an elevated level of ambition. These things are crucial to my brand, succession planning, people development, and my bottom line. Asking the right questions can help you find final-step candidates who are collaborative in nature, honest, self-motivated, committed to sharing, and who will embrace and represent company values.

Here are some of my favorite questions to gauge Emotional Intelligence, Emotional Maturity and, ultimately, fit :

1) Why do you want this job?
2) Tell me what stood out to you in the pre-interview information I sent?
3) Tell me about a current issue in retail or fashion that will impact business at our company?
4) What are the top three factors that you would attribute your success to?
5) Who do you think is our competitor & why?
6) Did you build lasting friendships at your last job?
7) When you looked at the news today – what did you hear/read about?
8) Who inspires you & why?
9) Can you teach me something as if I have never heard of it before?
10) How do you stay up-to-date with the latest retail industry news?
11) You have seen our Company Values – give me examples on how you can personally identify with two of our values?
12) If you were starting a business tomorrow, what would be three of it’s values?
13) If you were to be offered this job, what makes you think you would be successful at it?
14) What is more important – creativity or following policy to the letter?
15) What is your biggest goal to achieve in the next year? What are you doing now to achieve that goal?
16) How would you handle an employee with an attendance problem when we don’t have an attendance policy in place?
17) Do you need us more than we need you?
18) What skills or expertise do you feel you are still missing?
19) If business priorities changed, how would you help your team understand and carry out the shifted goals?
20) If I spoke to your previous boss and asked them to describe you, what would they say?
21) What would they say is your worst habit?
22) What would your critics say about you?
23) Can you give me an example of how you dealt with criticism badly? What did you learn?
24) How do you handle a procrastinator who has something due every Wednesday and doesn’t deliver?
25) Describe the leadership style that will bring forth your best work and efforts?
26) What is the single most important factor that must be present in your work environment for you to be successful and happy?
27) What are the top three expectations you have of your senior leadership in an organization where you will work most successfully?
28) How to you motivate yourself to complete a task you don’t love?
29) How do you handle self-development when there is a topic you want to learn about? What is the last thing you learned about on your own?
30) Did you make your bed this morning?

Based on the role I am interviewing candidates for I will dig deeper with follow up questions and ask the candidate to expand on their answers to truly gain an understanding of their experiences and their expectations of a healthy, productive, and happy workplace.

In a previous retail life, when I used to use the company approved “traditional” interview questions that, at least in retail, have not evolved much in the past 20 years I ran about a 50% success rate in finding a really great candidates (when I veered off the course of the interview guidelines) but by interviewing for “fit” I have retained 100% of my Store Manager candidates and they are candidates who have the same workplace expectations that I have and they just don’t “fit” into the culture but they help create it! When we begin our working relationship, we have confidence that we are aligned in culture fit and job fit.


Founder and Editor in Chief of Excellence In Retail and 18 year retailer. I am a passionate and creative leader and coach committed to inspiring thought, action, truth-telling, solution-seeking, and dialog about how to maximize talent through identifying and creating a process around critical success factors, workplace culture, signature leadership practices, productivity, profitability, alignment of employees and company vision & values, and workplace happiness inside all retail organizations. I help create healthy, vibrant, high-performing, and highly-productive organizations that are talent magnets and focused on delivering the highest level of customer experience that will differentiate them from competition and result in long-term growth and sustainability.

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