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8 Ways to Spot Emotionally Healthy Candidates Emotionally healthy people relate well to others and can affect significant change for your organization.

By William Vanderbloemen Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


How are you sure to make a great hire? When you are interviewing for a position, most employers are sure to examine competency, core beliefs, vision and culture. But the rare wisdom that separates the best from the rest? Go a step further and ask questions that reveal the emotional health of the candidates.

Why is this so important? Emotionally healthy people relate well to others. They can deal with stress, tension and failures with grace. They are at peace with the past, undaunted by the present and optimistic about the future. They are less preoccupied with their own problems and more open and free to work at the highest capacity in your company. In short, emotionally healthy people are able to affect significant change for your organization. Here are eight ways to spot emotionally healthy candidates.

Related: 15 Traits of Emotionally Wealthy People

1. They don't compare their lives to others'.

Theodore Roosevelt is attributed to saying, "Comparison is the thief of joy." Emotionally unhealthy people compare themselves to others, think the grass is always greener and even resent others' success. In contrast, emotionally healthy people are content with what their talents are, confident in their sense of use of those talents and purpose and can rejoice in the success of others. Ask your candidates to rate their level of contentment with their lives or to describe a recent success of a friend or family member -- and listen closely to their responses.

2. They don't see themselves as victims.

Emotionally unhealthy people keep company with people who bring them down and then blame everyone else when their life isn't how they want it to be. Conversely, emotionally healthy people don't act as though the world owes them anything. They don't waste their time having pity parties or feeling sorry for themselves. Ask your candidates about a significant failure in their life and how they responded. Listen for if they take responsibility for their lives and failures and how they bounced back from a low point.

3. They forgive.

Closely related to number two, emotionally healthy people don't hold grudges. They know that harbored anger and resentment will imprison them and affect every aspect of their lives. Emotionally healthy people don't dwell on the past or obsess about a time someone hurt them. If they are willing, have your candidates describe a time when they were hurt or disappointed by someone. Did they actively work toward forgiveness?

4. They don't need to be the center of attention.

Ever been around that person who is needy for attention or constant affirmation? It's just a guess, but that person probably has some deep insecurities that they need to deal with. Emotionally healthy candidates don't need or demand recognition. They give credit to others. They believe in themselves and do their own thing, not needing to fit in or craving affirmation. Are any of your candidates showy or needy -- or do they demonstrate humble confidence?

5. They know when to say "no."

Over-committing yourself may be a sign that you think you're superman or that you want others to think you are. If someone can't say no, they are probably too worried about what everyone else thinks of them. And if someone is too fixated on pleasing others, they may not be emotionally healthy. Likewise, over-committing yourself might mean that you're placing a higher priority on work than on your family / home life. Ask your candidates about their thoughts on work-life balance and how they say no when a commitment may interfere with their family time.

Related: Make Your Life Better By Saying 'No' More Often in These 3 Areas

6. They don't get easily worked up.

The very best candidates are ones who are low on the drama meter. They have a deep peace that makes them relatively unfazed by change, daily stressors, worries and tough situations. Emotionally healthy people don't have knee-jerk emotional reactions to change or get worked up about things that they can't control. Question candidates about what stresses them out and how they deal with it.

7. They give back and give their all.

Emotionally unhealthy people hoard their time, talents and even love. Emotionally healthy people have a spirit of servanthood and give of themselves. Emotionally unhealthy people are afraid to try hard because they might fail. Emotionally healthy people give their all regardless of what they might get in return or what the outcome might be. And if they do fail, are hurt or are rejected, they don't give up or begin to withhold their gifts. They continue to give back and give everything they've got.

8. They know that joy is a choice.

When Walt Disney said, "Happiness is a state of mind," he was on to something. Emotionally healthy people know that they have control of their attitude and their response to situations. Listen for if your candidates communicate a positive outlook on their lives and the future. And listen for candidates choosing to live out all of the fruit of the spirit, which are clear determiners of emotional and spiritual health: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

When you add emotionally healthy people to your team, it creates an entire culture of emotional health, stability and productivity. Learn how to spot emotionally healthy candidates and their maturity will cultivate an emotionally healthy culture throughout your staff. Only then will you be able to effect significant change and productivity as a company.

Related: An Exceptional Vision for Your Life Can Lead to Joy and Success

William Vanderbloemen

Author and President, CEO of Vanderbloemen Search Group

William Vanderbloemen is the author of Next: Pastoral Succession That Works and president and CEO of Vanderbloemen Search Group, a for-profit startup that leads in executive search for churches, ministries and faith-based organizations.

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