7 Interview Questions That Instantly Make You Look Empathetic

candidate in an interview


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Laura Berlinsky-Schine2.3k
April 18, 2024 at 11:45AM UTC

In light of factors like the COVID-19 pandemic and the Great Resignation, many businesses are changing their hiring processes and looking for different skill sets and qualities.

Today, empathy is one of the most valuable traits a candidate can possess, no matter what their job or industry. Having high emotional intelligence won’t land you a role you’re not qualified for, but it could be a deciding factor in the hiring process.

So, how do you demonstrate that you’re empathetic and have a strong EQ in an interview? Start by asking the following questions.

1. “What does collaboration look like here?”

Collaboration and teamwork are important qualities for a professional to have in the workplace. An ability to work effectively with others is necessary in many a role. It also shows emotional intelligence.

If you’re inquiring about how collaboration works at the organization, you’re showing that you can about working well with others, something hiring managers value in candidates.

2. What’s the company culture like?

Work is about far more than simply the responsibilities you’ll be handling. A person with empathy and real feelings in general will care about what the culture looks like — the people, the ways of doing things and the goings-on. 

This question can also give you insight into how well you’ll fit in at the business, which is critical in determining whether it’s the right place for you.

3. “Tell me about your career journey.”

Expressing interest in the hiring manager’s own career path shows that you care about the people you might be working with. You want to hear about other people’s journeys, not just your own. This also demonstrates investment in your prospective work and position, along with the interviewer’s. When you ask this question, make sure you really listen — you could very well learn something.

4. “What’s your favorite aspect of your work here?”

Again, this shows that you have real interest in your prospective manager beyond the role your applying for. It demonstrates that you’re trying to get to know the hiring manager as a person and care about both the working relationship and the business itself. Moreover, it gives you more insight into whether you can truly see yourself at the organization.

5. “With whom will I be interacting the most?”

Your colleagues have a huge impact on your work life. Empathy means having genuine care for these individuals, whether they are direct reports, managers or peers. Inquiring about what your team and day-to-day interactions look like shows that you prioritize people.

6. “If I’m hired, how can I best support you and your initiatives from day 1?”

Demonstrating an eagerness to help out from the very beginning is what hiring managers want to see. By asking this question, you’re showing that you want to be supportive in the best way possible from day 1. This also conveys to your prospective manager that you care about their work and are a generally helpful person.

7. A question the directly follows up on your discussion during the interview.

Part of empathy involves listening closely to what other people are saying and understanding their perspective. By paying careful attention to the content and flow of the conversation, you can come up with questions that follow up on what the interview was saying. This will show that you’re invested in the discussion and have been actively listening, not just trying to get through this round of interviews.

These questions will help you demonstrate care and empathy, but you must go a step further to truly convey these qualities in an interview. In addition, pay attention to nonverbal cues, such as eye contact and body language, and do your best to monitor your own cues as well. It’s not just what you say, after all — it’s what you do.

What's your no. 1 piece of advice for looking empathetic in an interview? Leave your answer below to help other Fairygodboss'ers! 


This article was written by a FGB Contributor.

 Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a freelance writer and editor based in Brooklyn with her demigod/lab mix Hercules. She specializes in education, technology and career development. She also writes satire and humor, which has appeared in Slackjaw, Points in Case, Little Old Lady Comedy, Jane Austen’s Wastebasket and The Haven.

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