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Nine to Strive: How to Interview


Welcome to Nine to Strive, PayScale’s advice column. This week, Muneeb covers job interview strategies and what happens after you land your dream job.

Dear Muneeb,

What matters most to a potential employer during an interview? Should I focus on dazzling people with my technical skills, or practice my people skills? Is it more valuable to come as a subject matter expert or a silver-tounged charmer?

Do You Know What You're Worth?

Yours truly,


Dear Ambidextrous,


Great question! But it’s not just one or the other – employers want the best of both worlds from potential candidates.  During an interview, it’s your job to show that you have the technical capability to excel at the position and that you can effectively communicate with the rest of your team.  Recent research has shown that employers are placing a greater emphasis on emotional intelligence (EQ) during the hiring process. (Araoz, 2007) When you’re getting ready to interview for a job, focus on showing off your IQ and EQ equally during all stages of the process.


Resume: Your resume should reflect your technical knowledge, skills, and abilities which will directly correlate to the position.  Job seekers often make the mistake of not customizing their resumes for the specific position and miss out on a great opportunity.  The work you put in now will pay off in the future.


Interview : The interview process has become quite the science.  Hiring managers and recruiters alike are looking to determine whether the potential employee has the technical ability for the role and if the candidate has a high level of EQ. 


What is Emotional Intelligence (EQ)?


EQ is the intelligent use of one’s emotions, or (alternatively) the ability to manage ourselves, and our relationships (Araoz, 2007).  EQ is a collection of different competencies.

  1. Self-Awareness:
    1. Made up of emotional self-awareness, accurate self-assessment, & self-confidence
  2. Self-Management:
    1. Made up of Emotional self-control, transparency, adaptability, achievement orientation, initiative, & optimism
  3. Social-Awareness:
    1. Made up of Empathy, organizational awareness, service orientation
  4. Relationship Management:
    1. Made up of Developing others, inspirational leadership, influence, change catalyst, conflict management, teamwork, & collaboration


Why is EQ important? (Araoz, 2007)

  • Experience counts but is not enough to predict success at the job
  • IQ is not enough of a predictor for success at the job
  • For successful managers, EQ mattered more than IQ
  • Lack of EQ is very highly correlated with failure
  • Experience + High EQ = The most powerful combo to predict success at the job
  • Experience + High IQ = Better predictor for failure at the job

Works Cited

Araoz, C. F. (2007). Great People Decisions . In C. F. Araoz, Great People Decisions Why They Matter So Much, Why They Are So Hard, and How You Can Master Them. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.



Twitter Question of the Week

@payscale @Bukhari_Muneeb I finally have a job doing something I enjoy. What now? 


I can’t blame you, it’s happened to many of us, myself included.  You’re driven and eager to work toward your goal, and when you finally do achieve success, you might not know what to do afterwards.  Luckily, you’ve come to the right place.  PayScale has a tool just for you called GigZig. Enter in the job you currently have and you’ll instantly see what kinds of job titles people with your current job often achieve in five years. We also show you data about the salaries these positions typically earn. With that information, you can start formulating your next set of goals.

Have a Question?

Well folks, that’s it for this week.  Stay tuned for next week’s edition, and remember to send your questions to Whether your query is serious or scandalous, we’ve got an expert to help you become a better employee (or at least figure out how not to get fired).




Muneeb Bukhari
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