How to Detect Self-Awareness During an Interview

by | Feb 9, 2023

Yesterday’s post on the importance of self-awareness generated some additional questions on how to detect this trait during an interview.

Daniel Goleman’s research suggests that individuals with a high EQ will be able to…

a.  Speak accurately and openly about their strengths.

b.  Talk about their emotions and how they affect their work.

c.  Easily admit failures and limitations.

You could craft interview questions that try to get at these issues, but it still feels a little nebulous.

Here’s an easier way.

In a post from the archive, Dave Mashburn suggested this technique:

Ask the standard: “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” question during the interview.

When the candidate talks about their weaknesses, follow-up with this question:

“What are some of the things you’ve done to improve your weaknesses?”

Or, “What’s your strategy for improving your __________ (earlier stated weakness)?”

This gets you past the canned answers and helps you discover if the candidate is working on getting better.

This information is important because a truly self-aware person wants to improve their weaknesses.

Regardless of how you get there, assessing for self-awareness is a key part of hiring, and you’ll be doing yourself a favor if you can find agents who have lots of it.


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