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4 Emotional Intelligence Skills Needed for Remote Jobs Today

How to demonstrate your emotional intelligence in video job interviews.

One notable outcome of the pandemic and remote work is the pressing demand for job candidates with strong emotional intelligence skills. Reliance on video and other digital platforms has continued to grow exponentially. Consequently, hiring managers now consider emotional intelligence, or EQ, a cornerstone of employability as they navigate the current, more impersonal landscape. With some advance thought, you can leverage these skills during the interview process, increasing the chances of landing your dream job.

Blue Planet Studio/Shutterstock
Source: Blue Planet Studio/Shutterstock

Regardless of the precise degree of remote work in the future, we will rely more heavily on these communications platforms going forward. And while working from home has many perks, certain nuances such as reading a coworker’s body language or observing their other work demands will be imperceptible. Enter you: the sought-after, emotionally intelligent job prospect.

Here are four remote work EQ skills that are crucial for job seekers to possess today, an explanation of why they’re valuable, and how you can highlight them in real-time in a job interview:

Trust. Trust is like oxygen in the workplace. Without it, you have nothing, especially now. Working from home means you must garner trust from managers and coworkers, not only when you’re available, but also when you’re not. That can be challenging when you’re offsite, as you also need to set boundaries when you're juggling your personal life from home. (Of course, many of these people skills like trust go both ways — and must start from the top for you to reciprocate.)

  1. Hiring Managers want to learn about the ways in which you’ve earned trust among your managers, peers and team as you’ve advanced in your career. They want to ensure you were consistently dependable and engendered trust among colleagues. Can you also provide examples of this among clients, mentees or even volunteer organizations? Did managers or clients gradually delegate more work to you? Did you collaborate successfully with cross- functional work teams?
  2. In addition to being prepared with responses to the above, you can also foster trust during the interview itself with a few non-verbal gestures: strong eye contact and positive body language (lean forward, avoid crossing your arms); good listening skills; and avoiding distraction.

Self-awareness. You know your hot buttons and how to moderate more extreme emotions, such as anger or fear. In a remote workplace, acting in the moment can haunt you. You don’t have the luxury of an in-person handshake to smooth over a rough discussion. A staff meeting can be recorded and a heated chat easily saved.

  1. Hiring managers want to know how you handled tough situations or a difficult boss in the past. The old HR axiom, “interviewers hire attitude,” was never truer. Be ready to respond to a classic question about how you handle stress.
  2. Self-awareness impacts social interaction. This is an opportunity to showcase your personal discipline under pressure. For example, stay calm despite being thrown interview curveballs. Avoid getting flustered if your Zoom call is delayed 45 minutes. Catch yourself appearing fearful if the interview is seemingly cut short. Compensate for the impersonal barrier of a computer screen — with a smile and relaxed demeaner.

Empathy. A Slack survey conducted last year suggested that nearly half of all remote workers feel isolated. All the more reason that showing warmth and managing difficult situations with ease are highly valued. In the remote workplace, the virtues of in-person communication are replaced by subtleties and innuendo.

That unexpected “Good morning” down the hall or wave hello may not always be there to soften your interactions. Still, video calls can be creative and engaging. Remote work may well be one of the most exciting trends in the workplace if everyone shows some sensitivity and does their part! Showing your human side may take extra effort, but it’s well worth it.

  1. Hiring managers want to know you care about coworkers and staff — and navigate challenging situations with thoughtfulness. Empathy and motivational skills are close cousins, too. Especially now, when people feel so distant. Think about how you motivated a team to a new milestone after getting their insights on what they needed, for instance.
  2. Before you are being interviewed, be sure to show kindness and respect to an admin who may be setting up a video call. Sometimes the technology can be frustrating when there are glitches on the other end. In the interview, ask thoughtful questions about the position and demonstrate genuine interest. Be responsive to pressures you hear as you read between the lines. Listen at 110 percent. That’s the antithesis of blindly selling yourself … as it's understood that good listeners have a greater propensity for compassion.

Communication ability. Canadian-born author Manly Hall once said, “Words are potent weapons for all causes, good or bad." They can be remembered forever, especially in the largely digital world in which we now exist.

  1. Hiring managers know that if you can write, are articulate and listen well, there will be fewer misunderstandings, false starts — and greater opportunity for leadership and enhanced teamwork. The average person listens to about 25 percent of what you say, according to various industry research. But now, when a lot can be lost due to something as simple as a poor wireless connection not to mention a lack of a face-to-face meeting — active listening and getting right the first time is even more imperative.
  2. On the video interview call, explain how you’ve used your communication skills to: move projects forward; make successful video presentations; hold successful meetings; and so on. Your writing ability can shine before and after the call, but during the interview, remember to have three or four key points to fall back on. Demonstrate your excellent listening skills by mirroring back what the hiring manager says: “So if I have this right, the first task will be to analyze digital marketing expenses. Is that correct?” In addition, your ability to stay on point, be concise and use levity as appropriate will all underscore your communication acumen.

The workplace landscape has likely changed forever, having embraced remote work. This presents an opportunity for you to showcase your emotional intelligence skills in landing your next dream job. Honing them further will enhance your long-term advancement prospects significantly — regardless of your next career move.