Your employees should be able to keep their cool in the face of angry customers, respond graciously to constructive criticism during meetings, and stay calm through employee disputes. In short, your employees need good emotional regulation, which is the ability to control emotions during stress.
Often, you can’t tell if employees have good emotional regulation until they’re in a sticky situation at work, and the results can be disastrous. Instead of waiting for a meltdown on the work front, feel out a candidate’s emotional regulation during the job interview by asking these questions:
- Has your mood ever affected your performance at work?
- Was the effect negative or positive, and what happened?
- Tell me about a past work conflict and how you resolved it.
- If you were managing a group of employees and suspected one of theft, what would you do?
- Have you ever gotten negative feedback from a boss, and how did you respond?
Job candidates who regulate their emotions well might talk about keeping their cool, helping their teams, and defusing ordeals. By contrast, candidates with poor regulation may describe themselves getting overly upset and blame others for what went wrong. They may even show signs of lingering anger, such as by clenching their fists or getting flushed.
When interviewing candidates, remember that experience and education are only part of the formula. Above all, you want people who can behave appropriately in the workplace. Emotional intelligence is one of the biggest predictors of workplace performance, and emotional regulation is a large component of that.