The Book Corner - Review

The EQ Interview by Adele Lynn

The EQ Interview: Finding Employees with High Emotional Intelligence

By Adele B. Lynn
AMACOM, 2008

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5 stars: Stop what you're doing and read this book!Adele B. Lynn has written a very clear, concise, and easy-to-use handbook for human resources (HR) managers, interviewers, and anyone else involved in employee hiring processes. In my initial reading, I found some of the author’s definitions to be incomplete, and wondered whether the book would be merely a superficial treatment of some very important subjects. However, I found that the explanations provided later in the book were on target and accessible to any reader. For example, in her definition for “empathy,” she writes:

Empathy also means that we can “feel” the impact of situations and understand how our words and actions affect others. Our ability to feel the impact of situations and of our behaviors and words on others generates a strong foundation to build relationships. Knowing on this level means that we know not because someone has told us; instead, we know because we have compassion for the other person’s situation or experience.

The chapters are organized in such a way that makes the book easy for the reader to understand and then apply the lessons learned to the end-of-chapter questions. A seasoned, well-trained interviewer will find these questions, as well as the 250-plus questions listed in the Appendix, to be excellent resources. They run the gamut from the ordinary questions usually asked by any interviewer to the pointed, which some interviewers might experience discomfort with, for example:

  • In what areas did you fall short of delivering the results you wanted to deliver? Why did you fall short? What could you have done differently?
  • Tell me about a time when someone was resisting you, your ideas or your authority. What did you do?
  • Describe a time when you felt very strongly about something that happened at work something you considered to be an affront to your values. What did you do?

Each chapter also includes references to various contemporary publications, some of which are worth pursing further, and discussions of “Key Points to Consider When Assessing Answers.” These, like the book as a whole, are well framed and can help the interviewer understand nuances embedded in the responses of interviewees.

The EQ Interview is not, nor does it claim to be, an academic text. However, acknowledging the researchers and theoreticians who initially isolated and defined the concept of emotional intelligence would have added credibility and validity to Lynn’s writing. The field of Positive Psychology and the subset of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) are still new. Such acknowledgements might include, among others, Yale professors Jack Meyer and Peter Salovey and Dr. Reuven Bar-On, an internationally recognized authority on EQ. And the author would have lost nothing by acknowledging the writer who made the concept of EQ practically a household name: Daniel Goleman.

Nonetheless, I am considering using this book as a primer in conjunction with selected texts to help my executive students recognize and understand emotional expression in the workplace.

*The EQ Interview is focused on a specialized audience and as such, it deserves two rankings: 3 stars for the general management reader, and 5 for the specialized reader.

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