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Emotions in business and situational judgement tests for emotional intelligence (EI and EQ)

Every day we experience certain emotions, positive and negative, inspiring and demotivating, contributing to the achievement of our goals and, on the contrary, contradicting them. All our life we are subject to this seemingly uncontrollable energy. But is it so uncontrollable? And what about emotions in business? Can emotions of employees help to do business for their employers? In this article we will discuss emotions in business and situational judgement tests to assess emotions – emotional quotient (EQ, emotional intelligence, social intelligence) that help employers to pick the right candidates.

Is there a place for emotions in business?

There are two opposing approaches to emotions in business: many executives and businessmen believe that emotions have no place in business, and when they do appear, they will certainly harm. Some executives claim that their employees leave all their emotions in the “checkpoint boxes” as soon as they arrive at the workplace. The second approach says: it is necessary to fill the company with emotions and passion first of all, and only then a company can become great and invincible.

Our experience, like the experience of many other HR agents, says that the truth lies somewhere in the middle, between the two approaches. It should be understood that emotional intelligence and emotionality are not the same thing at all. Emotional Intelligence (EI) helps us to use our emotionality wisely, as it is impossible to exclude emotions from company life and management activities. In the same way, it is impossible to exclude dry calculation.

emotional intelligence vs iq

What do IQ and EQ have in common? Are these two concepts somehow related to each other?

Yes, no doubt they are related. Let’s remember the history of IQ. For the first time, the concept of intelligence quotient (IQ) was introduced in 1912 by the German psychologist W.L. Stern, and the first IQ tests appeared in 1916. IQ tests were perceived as a measure of mental abilities, and intelligence in our society is an indicator of success and effectiveness. By the middle of the 20th century, HR agents began using IQ aptitude tests in order to recruit smart people. At the same time, they noticed that a person with a high IQ score is in some cases ineffective at work, and the one whose IQ test results are low is much more successful and promotes quickly. That is, there is no 100% correlation between “success ” and IQ.

Something was definitely missing. After some time, the theory of multiple intelligences arose, and in 1990, John Mayer and Peter Salovey introduced the concept of emotional intelligence.

Studies have shown that making successful decisions, effective communication with other people depends on IQ only by 33%, while the remaining 67% falls on EQ. If we talk about the role of EQ for executives and managers (and, as a rule, there is a lot of communication in their life), this difference is even more significant – 15% and 85%. At the same time, it is important to understand: in order to develop EQ, in order to understand this theory, logical and numerical abilities, which are measured by IQ aptitude tests, are still necessary.

It is impossible to say that emotion and emotionality are better than logic and rationality. A human being is an integral system, and both – intellect and emotion are necessary in business.

What is emotional or social intelligence and what it includes?

The EQuator’s emotional competence model includes four skills:

  1. Awareness of your emotions
  2. Awareness of other people’s emotions
  3. Managing your emotions
  4. Managing other people’s emotions

These skills must be developed systematically, starting with awareness of their own emotions. When we become aware of what we are feeling and why, we begin to manage it.

emotional intelligence situational judgement tests

How do you master emotional intelligence?

Ask yourself more often, “How do I feel now? If I am irritated, what for? If I’m scared, then why? ” and so on. A simple way, at first glance, but requires a lot of effort, because it is not immediately possible to notice that in some situations your irritation, for example, is caused by fear, and the fun actually starts in irritation.

Since childhood, we have not been taught to pay attention to ourselves, to our bodily, emotional state. We were taught only to think. And we believed that we only do what we think. Even to the question “How do you feel?” very often people respond just ok / good / bad.

The development of emotional intelligence begins with the development of the habit of paying attention to yourself and answering the question “What emotion is in me now? How do I feel now? ” Awareness is a key skill. If you manage to catch your own or someone else’s emotion, when it has not yet reached its climax, you have the time and chances to start managing this emotion.

What are situational judgement tests for emotional/social intelligence?

Employers use situational judgement test to assess the level of social intelligence in candidates. Pre-employment EQ tests can include a wide range of test questions, usually presented in the form of questionnaires or situational test – scenarios of specific work situations in the workplace. Each of the situations involves 2 or more parties who somehow interact in the workplace (colleagues, manager and subordinate, employee and client, etc.).

social intelligence test ei

Emotional intelligence tests are very popular at companies, where you need to communicate a lot every day: in call centers of banks and mobile operators, in the positions of clerks, sales and customer support managers, as well as for managers of all levels, including government at the central and regional level. For managers and executives, the ability to recognize emotions and empathize is even more important. This trait is included in the essential skills of effective management.

The most popular and reliable tests for emotional intelligence are the Hall, Lucine, Guildford tests and the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso MSCEIT test, which has 144 test questions. The developers of such tests are all leading assessment companies in the field of HR technologies: SHL, Talent Q, IBM Kenexa, HT-Line, Hogan Assessment and others.

What do emotional/social intelligence tests measure?

Because EQ tests are used to assess a wide range of aspects of emotional intelligence, test questions differ depending on which component of emotional intelligence they measure.

Most emotional intelligence tests measure if you are able to:

  • Recognize emotions by facial expressions;
  • Understand and use emotions to predict the behavior of others;
  • Determine the emotions of people by their behavior;
  • Understand how certain actions contribute to emotions in you and others;
  • Identify types of emotions;
  • Understand how to use emotions to facilitate interactions between people;
  • Understand the nature of different emotions.

Emotional intelligence test guidelines

Many applicants find the emotional/social intelligence test very difficult for the following 2 main reasons:

  • Test questions can be ambiguous;
  • Test questions require you to deal with situations outside their comfort zone such as conflicts.

In our experience, the two most challenging tasks of EQ tests are to recognize emotions expressed non-verbally and to predict the emotional responses of people. Skills of this kind come only with long-term practice in communicating with people. These are so called soft skills.

social intelligence vs intellectual quotient

But you can learn to take EQ tests and score high. As always, practice and experience are key.

Social/emotional intelligence tests are designed to get you emotionally involved in a situation and thus receive a spontaneous response from you based on your experience and intuition. However, the only winning strategy is to calmly and detachedly study the situation in order to understand the feelings, goals and conditions of the parties and to weigh the options available. Think carefully about what you want to show the employer by choosing this or that answer option.

Your goal in taking EQ tests is to demonstrate that you can recognize and understand other people’s emotions. Thus, we recommend that when choosing answers, the first place is to put respect for the feelings of people, which are demonstrated in the test script. The worst choice of answer is one that ignores the feelings of the other side.

In each test, not 1, but 3-4 emotional intelligence competencies are usually studied. For example, in addition to recognizing and respecting the emotions of others, you may need to demonstrate skills such as:

  • persuasiveness
  • persistence in achieving results
  • loyalty to the company and consideration of its interests
  • flexibility
  • effective communication skills
  • ability to find solutions
  • conscientiousness
  • accuracy

All these skills can and should be demonstrated in such a way that the interests of all parties of the situation described in the EQ test scenario, are taken into account.

Let’s look at a few examples of emotional intelligence tests. In these tests, in order to score high, you need to find a balance between taking into account the emotional state of the party and finding a solution of a specific work problem.

Emotional intelligence test 1

situational judgement test for emotional intelligence

You will find the correct answer and a detailed explanation of this test at the end of the article. We recommend that you first try to take the test and find the correct answer by yourself to test your EI.

Emotional intelligence test 2

situational judgement test for emotional intelligence 2

You will find the correct answer and a detailed explanation of this test at the end of the article. We recommend that you first try to take the test and find the correct answer by yourself to test your EI.

Emotional intelligence test 3

situational judgement test for emotional intelligence 2

You will find the correct answer and a detailed explanation of this test at the end of the article. We recommend that you first try to take the test and rank the answer options by yourself. This test question is more difficult since you need to rank all 5 answer options. Usually you will have 3-4 minutes to give the answer.

Tests for emotional/social intelligence are a part of situational judgement tests. Read more about the types of situational judgement tests in our special articles:

10 tips for taking a situational judgement test

Situational judgement tests used by employers and qualities that they test

Psychometric aptitude tests for managers

Psychometric testing for call center and customer support jobs

What character traits of applicants employers pay special attention to?

Why laymen are more confident than pros, and what to do about it


At Aptitude-Tests-Practice.com we have prepared for you a large section of situational judgement tests, divided by profession and management level: psychological tests for managers, for sales specialists, for office and administrative positions and for call center operators. Most of the 300 psychological tests available on our website in 2020 include sections on emotional intelligence. If you have to take an EQ test, start practicing asap and in 3-4 days you will understand the basic principles and rules of such tests and learn how to quickly and correctly find the correct answer.


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Test answers and explanation

Emotional intelligence test 1

situational judgement test for emotional intelligence answer

Emotional intelligence test 2

situational judgement test for emotional intelligence 2

Emotional intelligence test 3

situational judgement test for emotional intelligence 2situational judgement test for emotional intelligence 2

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