Over the past 20+ years, our agency has noticed that there are some Nannies who get every single job they interview for. Are they the most qualified? Do they have the most experience? Is their resume overly impressive? Not always. So, what is it that sets these Nannies apart? Why do they always seem to get hired over the other qualified applicants? It comes down to one thing — emotional intelligence.
Okay, but what is emotional intelligence?
Emotional intelligence (EQ) refers to one’s ability to perceive, evaluate, and control emotions both in themselves and in others. EQ is often thought of in contrast with cognitive intelligence (IQ), and some experts even believe that it is more important than IQ in determining your overall success in life.
It is thought that there are 5 key elements that make up emotional intelligence:
- Social skills
How can these 5 elements help in a job interview?
Self-awareness refers to your ability to recognize and understand your own emotions, and the effect that they have on others. This is a useful skill to have in a job interview, as it helps to know how you’re presenting yourself, and how you’re being perceived by those interviewing you. A Nanny who is self-aware, and knows how to control their emotions and respond appropriately, is going to make a better impression than one who doesn’t recognize their own emotions and how others are reacting to them.
Self-regulation involves managing your emotions and knowing how to express them appropriately. Those who have strong self-regulation skills are able to be flexible and adaptable to change, remain calm in stressful situations, and express their emotions in a healthy manner when/where it is appropriate to do so. In a job interview, which may be considered a “high stress” situation, the ability to self-regulate and remain calm is essential for making a good first impression.
Your motivations are what causes you to act. Extrinsic motivation is when we perform a behaviour or engage in something because we want to earn some sort of reward (e.g., praise, recognition, payment, etc.) or avoid negative consequences (e.g., disappointing others, losing our job, not being able to pay bills, etc.). Intrinsic motivation, on the other hand, is when you engage in a behaviour because you find it rewarding. In this way, the behaviour itself is the reward. Intrinsic motivation is another emotional intelligence skill. Those with high intrinsic motivation take initiative, are goal-oriented, and are always looking for ways to improve — qualities that every employer values!
Empathy (not to be confused with sympathy) refers to your ability to put yourself in others’ shoes and understand how they’re feeling. It involves active listening, considering things from the other person’s perspective, and responding appropriately. Empathy is essential in all social relationships, and if you’re able to convey it during your job interview, your potential employers are going to notice!
Social skills refer to your ability to interact and communicate with others in an effective way. These skills include active listening, verbal and nonverbal communication, appropriate body language and eye contact, and showing an interest in others. It may seem like the most obvious element of EQ, but it is often the one that is lacking during a job interview. If you know that social skills are something that you sometimes have difficulty with, we recommend practicing for your interview by getting a friend or partner to run through questions and give you constructive feedback before the actual interview.
You may have the most impressive resume in the pile and years of experience under your belt, but without emotional intelligence, that is only going to get you so far in an interview. So, before your next interview, check in with yourself and evaluate where you’re at with the 5 key elements, and how you could improve in those areas. Demonstrating your EQ is always an asset in interviews!