There is no equivalent to the LSAT score that you can add to your resume to let prospective employers know where you fall on the sliding scale of emotional intelligence. Job hunters spend significant time preparing finely tuned resumes that hit all of their academic and professional highlights but it really isn’t possible for a potential employer to get a sense of an applicant’s EQ until the interview stage.
Canadian Lawyer Magazine published an article in December that highlighted the importance EQ is starting to have in in-house legal departments as companies focus on ways to foster positive relationships between business units. This article makes it clear that businesses are starting to focus on EQ as part of their assessment of candidates and so the question becomes how do candidates convey their EQ during interviews?
Emotional intelligence covers five areas of competence; intrapersonal, interpersonal, adaptability, stress management and general mood.
When preparing for an interview, you should reflect on these areas so you are prepared to integrate examples of when you have demonstrated strong emotional intelligence in a workplace environment throughout your interview. This means including details about your approach to teamwork and mentorship as well as examples of how you adapt to change. Stressful situations can often highlight the presence (or absence) of emotional intelligence so be prepared to give examples of situations that demonstrate your ability to manage these situations in a thoughtful, reasonable way. Many legal interviews do not follow the behavioural-based “tell me about a time when…” line of questioning so, as the interviewee, you may need to take charge of working in examples that highlight your EQ.
Emotional intelligence can also be conveyed through the pacing of the interview and your ability to read cues from the interviewer about when to wrap up an answer or elaborate on a response. Interviews where candidates give short answers to questions without providing examples or details are very difficult on the interviewer and can leave the impression that the candidate’s interpersonal skills may be lacking.
You are more than the sum of the paper you have accumulated during your academic career. Though emotional intelligence may be one of the last qualifications companies take into account when weighing candidates, it is an important one. Therefore, you should include a reflection on your EQ as part of your interview prep.
Jennifer is a Recruitment and Communications Consultant with The Heller Group. She is actively involved in the recruitment and placement of lawyers into law firms and corporations and is also responsible for the corporate communications related to The Heller Group. In her spare time, Jennifer enjoys travelling, curling and spending time with friends and family.
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