anna papalia

The 4 Interview Styles with Interviewology Founder Anna Papalia

Anna PapaliaThe 4 Interview Styles with Interviewology Founder Anna Papalia

Anna Papalia, the Founder of Interviewology, joins us to explore the ever-changing landscape of interviewing from both angles. Her latest book, “Interviewology: the New Science of Interviewing,” presents a comprehensive guide to mastering four distinct interview styles. She shares her inspiring journey from a secure role in an insurance brokerage to pioneering a career dedicated to empowering candidates and interviewers in the hiring process. Our conversation delves into recognizing the right time for change, understanding barriers to intuition, and evaluating the current state of interviews. Anna offers invaluable insights from her book, serving as a valuable resource for anyone seeking to refine their interviewing process.

Anna also shares her insights in The Future of Tech Hiring: 8 Bold Predictions for 2024.

Episode Transcript

Rob Stevenson 0:05
Welcome to talk talent to me, a podcast featuring the most elite talent leaders on the front lines of modern recruitment.

Speaker 2 0:12
We actually want to understand the themes of someone’s life, we want to understand how they make decisions, where they’re willing to take risks and what it looks like when they fail,

Rob Stevenson 0:21
no holds barred completely off the cuff interviews with directors of recruitment to VPs of global talent, CHRO’s, and everyone in between.

Speaker 2 0:31
Once I went through the classes and the trainings and got the certifications through diversity inclusion, I still felt like something was missing.

speaker 3 0:39
Talent acquisition, it’s a fantastic career, you are trusted by the organization, you get to work with the C suite and the security at the front desk and everybody in between. And everybody knows you.

Rob Stevenson 0:52
I’m your host, Rob Stevenson. And you’re about to hear the best in the biz. talk down to me. Here with me today on talk talent me is the founder of interviewology and the author of the new book interview allergy, the new science of interviewing Anna, Papalia Anna, welcome to the podcast, how the heck are you?

Anna Papalia 1:10
Thank you so much. I’m wonderful. How are you?

Rob Stevenson 1:13
I am really great, I’m excited to be recording with you, you are a little outside the norm as far as guests go for me, which is fun, you know, this conversation could kind of go anywhere, which I’m excited about. And I’m really glad to have you here. Because you have the experience of the typical guest I’m mentioning right, you have been internal, you’ve been a director of people Director of Talent. And you’ve also struck out on your own do your own thing. And I would love to hear about that. So if we rewind a few years to that moment where you went from director internal to doing your own thing, I’m really interested in that sort of inflection point in your career.

Anna Papalia 1:48
Sure, that moment. Honestly, it’s such an interesting moment to me as well, when I think back on that time in my life, it was 2010. And it was an evolution of sorts for me, I had transitioned in so many areas of my life. And I was at the top of my game, I was a director of talent acquisition at an insurance brokerage, I was incredibly happy. I absolutely adored my boss, the CHRO. She was a terrific boss and had a terrific reputation. I worked with all of the executives in the organization and I adored every single one of them, I was in this very wonderful place. And kind of out of the blue, I started to think that I wanted to do something different, something bigger. And I don’t know, it was just one of those things that felt like a calling, almost spiritual. And I fought it for quite some time. And I know honestly, that I could still be a director of talent in a corporate position. But I had this feeling that I had to do something else. And I would be in phone screens, or I would be in interviews. And I would be thinking how I could help these candidates. And before I knew it, end of year came around, I started having open conversations with the President and my boss the CHRO and telling them, I have this dream, I want to start a business, I want to do this. I’m young at the time, I was like 32 or something. And I don’t have kids yet, and I have some money saved. And if I don’t do this, I’ll regret it for the rest of my life. And thinking back on that I still can’t believe I had the hutzpah to do that. I didn’t have a job lined up. I didn’t have a business plan. I didn’t have anything other than this calling in this mission. And the President looked at me and he said, you’ve got some Moxie. And that’s just about all I had, honestly, all I knew is that I wanted to do something that wasn’t being done. And I knew that I could stay at that organization for a really long time. And I can have my boss’s job if I wanted it or just stay where I was. And I’d be perfectly happy. But I really wanted to teach people how to interview better. And there really isn’t a business plan for that. And I didn’t even know where it was going to take me. And it was this gigantic leap of faith. So I left my role in April 2011. And I took a month off and I travelled a little bit. And then I realized, oh my goodness, I don’t have a job. What am I doing? And I got a call from the Dean of the risk management department at Temple University. I had previously hired all of my interns from their prestigious program. And he said, Hey, I hear you’re starting an HR consulting firm teaching people how to interview, you know what our students are doing right and wrong. Would you like to come in here and teach our course and prepare the students on how to interview? It’s like, How perfect is this? So I ended up doing it for 11 years, but for the first five years of my business, it was really the bedrock of teaching people how to interview really getting like a PhD in interviewing. And from that I started consulting with large organizations and doing exactly what I set out to do which was teaching People had an interview both job seekers and hiring managers.

Rob Stevenson 5:02
I am obsessed with that leap of faith. And because it is the easiest thing in the world to keep a good job, like you had a great boss, you were feeling probably secure, like you weren’t about to be fired, you were feeling like you have mastery and you’re performing well. You could have had your boss’s job, maybe you’re on that path to VP, or C level, whatever. And you still felt this need or this draw to walk away. I hear the other version of that so much, which is like I got laid off. And I didn’t know what to do next. And it’s like, okay, well, if you got laid off, it’s possible that it wasn’t a great job for you anyway. And then that was like the fire for people. It’s like, well, I don’t have a job, I might as well do the other thing that I always want to do. But you like walked away from a really good job. A biweekly paycheck is addicting, keeping a good job as easy. So what gave you the conviction? What made you think like, now is the time,

Anna Papalia 5:56
it was actually the second time of my career, I had done this. Previously, I moved out at a young age, and I was waiting tables for a very famous restaurant or making a lot of money in college. And I had to quit to go into my first role in HR. And it was an insanely lucrative job. But I remember thinking, if I don’t quit this and take off the golden handcuffs, I will never move on. And I don’t want to be waiting tables forever. And I was making sometimes $500 A night. And I had to quit that position and start making $16 an hour in my first HR generalist role. So it wasn’t the first time I had done it. So that’s important to know. I also kind of have this natural Moxie and chutzpah like, when I set my mind to something, if I know that I have to do it in order to get to the next place, I kind of just focus on this is a temporary loss in income or this is just a temporary shift. I live and die by the saying, if you don’t change direction, you’ll end up where you’re headed. You know, you’ll get to where you’re going, right? I have coached so many 1000s of people in their careers that I know this to be true. And I live it I live by example. So I’m still sort of fascinated at myself when I think back to 2011 how I had the bravery to go into the president’s office and do that. But I do feel like it was something really beyond I’m not a religious person. I’m not even a spiritual person. It just felt like something outside of me was like, you have to do this or you’re going to end up where you’re going. You’re going to be here for the next 10 years.

Rob Stevenson 7:33
When you are really satisfied and happy in a well paid role. It is merely gold. When you become an unsatisfied now it’s golden handcuffs. What happens? Well, how does gold turn into golden handcuffs?

Anna Papalia 7:47
I think for me, when I am happy and satisfied is actually when I feel the most motivated to leave. I feel the most like Okay, on to the next thing. It’s kind of like a graduation. You know, I taught juniors and seniors at the college level for so long. And I saw them transition from like these unsure sophomores to like really confident juniors. And then when they’re seniors, that whole second half of the year is like bittersweet. It’s like, oh, man, I just figured this place out. And I just found all the good parking spots. And now I know where to eat for lunch. And now I’m out of here. Every good transition is slightly bittersweet, right? And I think for me, when I’m really happy, I feel motivated. I feel contented. Maybe that’s it. And I’m not very satisfied in my life. Most of the time, I’m very entrepreneurial. But in those moments, when I feel contented, and satiated, I’m like, Okay, it’s on to the next roll. I don’t ever doubt that feeling. Because I also know that if I get bored, it won’t be pretty. Be. That’s not fun for me. So it’s like once I know like, I can’t do this anymore. I gotta I need a new challenge. There’s no turning back. Once I started having those thoughts. There’s no turning back for me.

Rob Stevenson 8:58
I’m glad you mentioned the experience that seniors in high school have, like, Oh, I just got comfortable. I just figured out where everything was. And now my worlds about to change again, right? And that is what is necessary for change. Right? If you are comfortable, you’re in your comfort zone, then you will just stay the same, right? Like that’s what actually happens when things atrophy. And when you’re young and in school, that change is forced upon you, time will pass you will go to the next grade or not you will go to college or not. Once you get into a career, though, you really can just stay in the same place. There is no one being like okay, now on to the next thing. You could just sit there and work at the same company for 30 years. And if that’s not what you want, then you really have to take care to not accidentally have that happen. It sounds like that was maybe a fear of yours. When you say like if you’re not careful, you’ll end up where you’re going.

Anna Papalia 9:48
Yeah, I think there are two types of change. There’s changes brought on to you by external forces, especially in our world by layoffs or getting fired or something happening or the company changing hands And then you get acquired. And then there’s internal change, where you realize you’re ready for the next challenge. And I think so many people are so terrified of their own intuitive voice, or their own idea of, okay, I’m done with this, because they get sucked into these societal messages like, Well, I do have a paycheck, and I should be grateful. And the economy’s bad right now, for good or for bad. I have an inability to not listen to that roaring, intuitive voice that’s like, you’re bored. If you don’t make a plan, or get out of here or look for something else, something bad will happen. That’s kind of how it feels. To me, it feels like an internal pressure. And I know and I am very sensitive to other people that they’re more security focused. So they will stay at a job that they don’t really love that much for the paycheck or for the benefits. And they have external factors that maybe I don’t have or didn’t have at the time. And we have to mention, you know, I have enormous privilege. And at the time, I had a lot of privilege. And I had a lot of things in my life that made it easier for me to make that decision. There had been times in my life 1015 years previous, where I didn’t have the money or the means to make the decision I made. So those factors are incredibly important.

Rob Stevenson 11:15
Why do you think people are terrified of listening to that intuitive voice inside themselves?

Anna Papalia 11:21
Well, I think most of the time when you get an intuitive voice or message, it comes as this sort of like quick, deep knowing you don’t hear it all day, every day. And in society. We hear those messages all day, every day. And we hear them echoed by everyone else. I think it’s a repetition thing. And then of course, we don’t trust it sometimes or will did I really just think that where did that come from? Was that my intuition? Or was that just a crazy thought I just had, you know, knowing the difference between your steep knowing and just thinking is hard. That’s what makes being an adult so difficult.

Rob Stevenson 11:56
Yeah, all those external voices are louder is what you’re saying. Right?

Anna Papalia 12:00
Absolutely. Yeah. And you got bills to pay?

Rob Stevenson 12:05
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, it can be so hard to make that move. But you did make that move. And it’s so impressive that you again, left, what was a good job. I’m glad you called out that, like there were certain privileges, you didn’t have kids at the time, less, you know, you didn’t have mouths to feed maybe only yourself to look after. So that does make it a little bit easier to sort of walk away from a sure thing, I would definitely would not blame anyone who has bigger responsibilities outside their person from baking a paycheck and doing the smart, safe thing.

Anna Papalia 12:32
Absolutely. And I think just to go back to my previous point, I moved out at 15. I struggled mightily, I’ve known not having any money, I lived on an air mattress, I’ve had nothing. So I also think that that’s part of what gives me a great gratitude around once you do have money, how many options it does give you and I wasn’t going to live like a poor person that had a biweekly paycheck that like I’ve known not having options I’ve known being really poor. I’ve known not having any help and living paycheck to paycheck. So once I wasn’t that it was like this new lease on life. It’s an important distinction. And just for me to remember, you know, even now,

Rob Stevenson 13:15
so you were at this moment where you were ready to do the next thing. And you said that you had kind of been in these interviews and you were like, I could help the people who are not getting hired, right? As a recruiter, you really help the people who you give jobs to, that’s a great feeling. But there’s lots of really get turned away. What was giving you that feeling? And what about those experiences were making you think I can help these people.

Anna Papalia 13:36
The first part was, I was starting to get judgment, fatigue, which I think happens to a lot of TA folks, because your entire job is judging people every day all day long. I went to school for psychology, I initially thought that I was going to be more in a helping profession. And then that wasn’t really for me after having some internships. So I discovered HR, which I was not good at, to be honest with you. I was like the worst HR generalist ever. And then I was handed a stack of resumes, and I fell in love with recruiting, and I really enjoyed it so much. But then I really sort of got beaten down a bit in the process of everyday all day you’re there on phone screens or in interviews. And all you’re doing is making these decisions on will this person be a good fit for the company? Will this person be a good fit for the hiring manager? Do they have what it takes should I pass them on? And you’re just asking yourself that all the time all the time. So there’s the first part of my sort of breaking away from talent was like, I want to empower people rather than judge them. So that was my first realization. And then my second realization was my sister at the time, who was sitting really close to me, would overhear me, giving people tips on how to make their resumes better. So I’d be like on phone screens, and I’m thinking they’re not right for us or whatever. And I just felt like well, who’s going to help them who’s going to do this? And so I’d be like, you know, just quick tip maybe if you did this or move this And that’s when I started to realize I really should be a coach rather than in HR or director of talent or recruiter. And that’s when I realized my corporate days were numbered, because what I wanted to do didn’t exist in the corporate world. Unless, of course, I got an executive coaching job or something like that. But I wanted to specifically do it around interviewing. So it was those couple of lightbulb moments and those feelings that I had to wrestle with, that helped me realize, I can’t judge people anymore. And I just really want to help empower people. And that’s how I figured I would do it. And I looked out in the world, and my dream job didn’t exist. So I created for myself with my own special skills that I had.

Rob Stevenson 15:40
are candidates bad at interviewing? Are companies bad at assessing candidates? Is it both? Where’s the real rub here?

Anna Papalia 15:47
I think it’s both. You know, I think when we’re in a position of power, as people in the talent space, I’ll just speak to the audience, because a lot of us are in this talent space. When you are in a position of power, you have a tendency to blame the powerless. And I saw it over and over again, with my hiring managers, where they would blame the people that we were interviewing, they’re unprepared, there’s no good candidates, there’s a shortage all this stuff, which is true, but it’s both am right. And in my experience, job seekers are often more prepared than hiring managers are in the interview process. Hiring managers if you’re hiring well, and I’m not talking about recruiters or talent, folks, because we interview all the time. But if you’re hiring Well, for a department with low turnover, you might only be interviewing 369 times a year. And if you’re a job seeker, actively interviewing, you’re going on 20 or 30 interviews. So job seekers often have more experience at the interview table than the hiring manager. And the types of interviews that were conducted. I mean, we could talk for a long time about this. But I think it’s both and and I think we have to be really careful about blaming job seekers, because we’re in a position of power, because that is not my experience. I’ve worked with over 10,000 clients, and preparing them how to interview and hiring managers. And it’s not that simple.

Rob Stevenson 17:10
In those examples where the job seeker is more prepared than the hiring manager. In one example of the hiring manager, maybe they don’t get as many reps at it, they’re not doing it as much. But what are some other ways that the folks doing the interviewing, doing the assessing are deficient? Well,

Anna Papalia 17:27
often hiring managers rely on the fact that they are in a position of power, so they don’t prepare, often hiring managers aren’t trained to interview, we know that over 90% of hiring managers were never trained to interview. And we also know that hiring managers have a tendency to just follow the pack or pay attention to how other people do it in the organization and do it how they’re doing it. And they don’t think too deeply about it. Now they’re taking it seriously, obviously. Then the other problem is they’re very busy. They have a team of 10, let’s say and they have two openings. And so all the works piling up and they want to make a decision really quickly, are lots of ways and lots of factors going against hiring managers to do it well, because to interview well means to prepare to take your time to think deeply about what it is you need. What does your team need, what skills are required. And most of the time, we know this to be true, hiring managers just have a conversation with candidates to see if they click with them. And that’s pretty much the worst thing that you could do. We know scientifically, that is a terrible approach. But that’s most of the time how it happens. And we also know as talent folks that hiring managers spend about 80% of the interview talking, and they’re not actually interviewing candidates, and they’re on a soapbox, they’re talking about what they need, or they’re talking about their department or trying to sell the company or whatever their motivation to do that. And then they don’t really get to know that person and then end up hiring them. And six months later, they go back to HR, and they’re like, why was this person not a good fit? Like? Well, you didn’t ask them any questions. You didn’t talk to them, you talk to them. So those are some of the big problems. And some of the big mistakes hiring managers make in interviews? Yeah,

Rob Stevenson 19:16
if you just have a conversation with no structure, it’s gonna go where you’re used to conversations going, which is nowhere most conversations are, you know, it’s nice and fun and social, but they’re typically inconsequential. And the stakes are too high in an interview, right? You need this person to be really good at their job, you need to make the right choice. And on the other side, you want to get a job, right? You have bills to pay, right, maybe this is your dream job. So it’s too important of a thing to allow it to just be a conversation and I’ve seen it a million times. When I read the interview feedback from other people on on my teams is like, I had a great conversation with this person we really clicked and like that’s not what this is about at all. So what is the responsibility when one sees the hiring manager? I guess first, like if you, as a recruiter are seeing hiring managers do this, what should you do? And then I also want to speak to the job seekers, because if they find themselves in this kind of situation, they need to identify it and maybe make an attempt to drive the conversation themselves. Right? Can we start there? If we start with like, Okay, if you’re a job seeker, and you feel like you’re not being assessed properly, how do you figure that out? And what do you do about it?

Anna Patterson 20:23
There’s nothing you can do if you’re a job seeker. No, sorry, you’re there’s not you’re not in a position of power. And that’s why hiring managers and recruiters get away with this for so long, because no one’s holding them accountable. I think it has to happen structurally, it has to happen within the organization. It has to happen from a, we have corporate goals. And this is how we’re going to approach interviews. And I believe that if you’re trying to build an organization that’s diverse, both in gender and race and thought, then it starts at the interview table. Most importantly, diversity doesn’t happen after you hire people. Your hiring managers are the ones making decisions on who to hire, which means they are the gatekeepers. And if you’re not teaching them how to be open minded in the interview process, then you are doing your company a disservice. And most importantly, the way to eliminate a lot of the things that make our hiring biased, is ambiguity. So giving our interview structure, removing this social component, and putting some rules in place and adding more people to the room. So you’re not making complex decisions about people in a vacuum alone, all of us and everyone who’s listening, who has interviewed quite a lot, knows what it’s like when you walk out of a room and you’re like, oh, I don’t know, how do I feel about this? You know, like, I liked them, but could they do the job. And all of these decisions about people are so much easier when you have two or three people interviewing at the same time, you know, that you can riff off of and debrief with and brainstorm with. Doing this alone is incredibly difficult, because making decisions about people is complex, and our biases get in the way. And if we don’t have someone to mirror us or hold us accountable, it’s even more difficult.

Rob Stevenson 22:22
Assessment of individuals for a job is so difficult, I almost want to use the word fraught, because I feel like so many interviews are bad or mean, like how much can you really get to know someone in a 60 minute interview? And it goes beyond their ability to do the job? Do they have the technical skills and ability? Have they done it before? Yes, no. But that’s not all. It’s about right. There’s all these other factors in whether they’re going to be a good employee, and whether this is like a good fit for them, and what will they develop, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. And part of all the stuff on top of the technical chops is covered in some of your recent research with this new book interview, ology you are identifying interviewing styles. So I was hoping we could kind of go through some of the styles, maybe we’ll just kind of give a brief overview of what all of them are. And then we’ll maybe focus on what do we do with that information once we know it? So could you share a little bit about first your research and how you wound up getting to this point where you’re able to identify the styles of interviewers?

Anna Papalia 23:18
Absolutely. So let me back up just a little bit. So I was teaching at the college level, and I was there for about five years. And I was getting through to some of my students, and some were performing really well and others just weren’t. And I assume that a lot of teachers get to this point in their teaching journey, where they’re like, Hmm, why are some of my students not getting this? And I kept kind of hitting an obstacle and getting slightly frustrated. And then I had a lightbulb moment, it was pretty simple. It was about this time, seven, eight years ago, driving home for Thanksgiving, actually. And I thought to myself, What if we don’t all do this the same way? Wait a minute, I was like, Well, I’ve been approaching this all wrong. You know, what if we all give interviewing advice from the place of who we are, and from what we do? And then I had to step back in my mind and think, Well, what if we don’t all do it the same way? And what if there are different types. And that moment, was this lightbulb moment where it was a before and after me? And then I returned back to school after a break and I asked the dean to start collecting some research. And I just was consumed by this idea obsessed with this idea that much like love languages that you’ve heard of, or disk which we’ve all used in the corporate world? What if there was a language that we could use to talk about how we interview and for me having been in so many debriefs with hiring managers, I just wanted a better way to talk about someone’s style someone’s approach. And I also as a teacher wanted a better way to figure out why are my students not getting this or what’s their approach? How’s it different than mine? And so for a couple of semesters, I collected a lot of research, I wrote a personality assessment. And I discovered in that research that there are truly four distinct ways we go about interviewing. So everyone interviews as either a charmer, Challenger examiner, or harmonizer charmers wants to be liked, challengers want to be themselves, examiners want to get it right. And Harmonizers want to adapt. And in conducting my research, when I made this discovery, it was like Eureka, it was this moment. And my students started to feel really validated with their results and realizing, wow, this is totally how I am in an interview, you know, and this advice pertains to me better than just like the advice I was giving, because I was giving advice from who I was. And it was a turning point for me. And I continued to collect research. And then that became the framework from which I taught all of my interview skill workshops, my mock interviews, everything. And it changed how I talked about interviewing how I coached. And then I realized that had a broader application, we could use it for both job seekers and hiring managers, and having a language was something I always wanted. And then it really clarified for me why I probably wanted to leave my corporate role back in 2011. That feeling that I talked about earlier of being compelled to do something, I felt like this was the thing I was compelled to do, I was compelled to discover this thing, honestly. And that’s how it was born. And that’s how I discovered the four interview styles

Rob Stevenson 26:33
is one of the styles more likely to get hired more likely to be seen as more competent than another?

Anna Papalia 26:35
Well, I’ll tell you conducting this research and going down this road has taught me so much. And my initial hypothesis was, well, I’m amazing at interviewing, so everyone who interviews well is going to interview like me, and we’re going to corner the market. And I had this real chip on my shoulder. You know, as a previous director of talent, I thought I knew what it took. And I just assumed that everyone that interviewed like me would be the ones that would get jobs. And thank goodness, I was completely and totally wrong. The research did not prove that out. And I’m really happy for that. And it knocked me down a couple pegs, which is what I needed. I realized in conducting this research that my students who got the best internships who got the most job offers, actually were represented by all the interview styles, which was such a wonderful discovery. And a humbling one, then helped me also realize another huge realization in my research, which was, we all think that everyone interviews the way we do, and we all think that everyone should do it the way we do. And that’s where our biases come from. So for example, I’m a charmer in interviews, I’m highly extroverted, I’m highly accommodating, I want people to like me, I want to tell stories, I want to get to know that person, I forget to, you know, give metrics or give details, because I’m just really focused on connecting with someone. So I would give advice from that standpoint. And a lot of people that give advice on how to interview are giving it from that standpoint, because we also conduct social interviews in our society, and we prefer extroverts. So we kind of go into this, well, you should be these things. And then the other part of my research was realizing that there is a bias in our society. And these other interview styles don’t feel as though they can be themselves they feel as though they have to pretend to be more extroverted, or they have to pretend to be more accommodating. So that was another really interesting finding. And for me, it has been, you know, I’ve learned more than probably all my students that I’ve taught and the 1000s of people I’ve taught using this framework. It’s just been so interesting, because I really thought I had the answers and collecting research, it really shows you, you don’t actually.

Rob Stevenson 29:01
So we have a bias towards extraversion in an interview because it is like a social exchange. So someone who is extroverted is going to perhaps come off better in that. Now, the same time interview is kind of a performance, right? Like you are performing your idea of what the evening person wants to hear, right if you really want the job. So as interviewers do we tend to like people who are more similar to our style where we have a bias towards other people who match the way that we show up in reviews?

Anna Papalia 29:33
Yes, absolutely. It’s pretty clear our biases are that we like people who are like us, so charmers are gonna like other charmers, challengers are gonna like other challengers. And this can be really painful and difficult when you’re interviewing people who aren’t like you. And that’s why it’s really hard to make a diverse hire. It’s why it’s really hard to look outside of yourself and see this other person as qualified when they don’t perform than the way you want them to in an interview. For example, if you’re a challenger in interviews, you pride yourself on being truthful. You’re undaunted, you want to be heard. You want to be respected. But you’re opposite. The harmonizer wants to adapt. They’re collaborative, they’re warm, they’re really quiet. They go with the flow, their worst fears to be seen as the devil’s advocate. Whereas the challengers, best thing they want to do is like be the devil’s advocate. And they show their value by asking tough questions. So you put those two in an interview, and you imagine what happens, wires get crossed, the challenger looks at the Harmonizers. And they’re like, this person isn’t interested. They’re not passionate, they’re not prepared. They’re quiet. They sat there the whole time, just you know, nodding along. And this is how I wanted to change this conversation around interviewing, I wanted to give us a language. So in debriefs, you could say something like, well, in an interview, I’m an examiner, and I want to get it right. And I want to present facts and figures and details in the stats. And that candidate really didn’t do that. They talked a lot about these stories. And we could say like, well, I know that because that person must be a charmer, right. And that’s how they show that they’re qualified. It doesn’t mean that they’re not going to be great at the job, it means that they interview differently, and different isn’t wrong. It’s just different. And that’s the conversation I want to have. And I want to help recruiters have around like, oh, wait a minute, like, I’ve been in those moments where I was like, I don’t like that cannon, I didn’t click with that person. But when is clicking a prerequisite for a job? You know, there are only a few positions in our companies that we’re hiring for where relationship building and being client facing. And clicking is like the top priority maybe for salespeople, right. But like most people, that’s not a big part of their job. But hiring managers have a tendency to just be like, well, I want to like them, or I want to click with them. And one of the things that gets in the way of clicking is your interview style. And it doesn’t mean if you didn’t work with this person, you wouldn’t like them, or click with them eventually, or appreciate them so much, because they like to do the things that you hate. I worked with so many of my polar opposites in the corporate world. And I truly adored them, because I’m like, man, they love those spreadsheets, you go, I’ll go talk on the phone, I’ll go be client facing. So I think it’s about understanding, you know, who we are being authentically ourselves showing up authentically. And there is a tremendous amount of advice that tells people that interviewing is a performance or that you should memorize the perfect answers. And I think that advice is bogus. You don’t imagine getting that advice anywhere else in your life. Like we don’t tell people to pretend to be something that they’re not anywhere else. And also, it’s not a good long term strategy. So let’s say you pretend you tell someone what they wanted to hear, because you knew on good authority, what they wanted to hear if you even knew that. And then how long are you going to pretend you’re going to hopefully work there for 234 years. So I believe that interviewing well is all about building up your self awareness. Because interviewing in the most basic sense is a set of questions about you, the more you know yourself, the better you’ll do. And I think this old advice of pretending to be something that you’re not is comes from a lot of that belief that if you’re introverted, you can’t be introverted in an interview, you have to turn off the volume, like we were talking about before, you know, all the ways that we have these biases in our society.

Rob Stevenson 33:45
Yeah, the pressure to conform a little bit to be inauthentic. Is there though, right? Because you want the job. And especially knowing now that people are biased towards people who are like them, or a style is like them. An interview is a performance like you want to perform. You want to show them that you can do a really good job and you want to get the job offer. And so knowing that people are a bias towards a certain way, wouldn’t it behoove you to saw some edges off just kind of performed to the audience and to what you think is going to get you the job? How do you tell someone to be authentic, while also telling them that people in interviews are biased towards themselves?

Anna Papalia 34:26
Well, how are you going to know what someone wants? How are you going to know what just to saw off?

Rob Stevenson 34:32
Well, I took your personality test. I know a little bit about the styles now what everyone likes so that ammunition

Anna Papalia 34:40
and I’m so glad you did. What did you think of your results?

Rob Stevenson 34:43
I thought it was accurate. Knowing what little you know about me for the last half hour. What what do you think I got

Speaker 2 34:49
given this line of questioning? I think you might be a challenger.

Rob Stevenson 34:52
Exactly right. I was a challenger with charming tendencies. And yeah, I thought that was really an Just saying, I think that I’ve probably swung from charmer to challenge or more in my career, because I think I have accomplished more I have more actually talked about early in my career when I didn’t, I was like my only chance to make like, I cannot talk about concrete accomplishments, I haven’t got any. But that piece is still there that wanting to get along and being liked. So, to your point, though, like, how would you know what to even saw off? I guess that’s like, you’re trying to read the interviewer and try and figure out what they want and what they like, especially if they’re going to be your boss, you’re going to have to be trying to figure out what they want, what they like, for your tenure underneath them. Right? So why wouldn’t that start in the interview? That sounds like a lot of work. It is, but you gotta get paid.

Anna Papalia 35:41
Like a lot of work to be a mind reader. It sounds like an incredible amount of work to try to figure out what someone wants to hear, rather than just presenting yourself authentically. I think this is the obstacle that gets in the way of that. We make up all these excuses and ideas. And we we tell ourselves that we can’t be ourselves, we have to solve these edges, we have to soften we can’t be this, we can’t be that. What if you showed up as yourself, and that is exactly what they needed or wanted. And then ultimately, you would be happier in that role, because you wouldn’t ever have to pretend you will be living a congruent life. I think if you thought back, and this is a global question for everyone listening, if you thought back to some of the interviews that you had for jobs that you ended up hating, ask yourself, for you you in that interview, you know, I’m willing to bet that a lot of mismatches come down to and this goes for hiring managers as well. You know, they do a really bad job of misrepresenting the job or the company and hiring managers lie in interviews to I’m not saying that they don’t pretend that we’re this this double fake often. And my goal is that we both show up authentically, both hiring managers and job seekers. So we can make a better fit. I think that would make all of this a hell of a lot easier.

Rob Stevenson 36:59
Yeah. And to your earlier point, imagine the mind reading works, you know, imagine you trick them you perform, and you give them exactly what you think they want, rather than who you are. And it works. And you get the job. How long do you keep that up? Right? How long do you just perform this sort of version of yourself? In order to make someone else happy, like murder will out as the bard would say? So as you say, like the version where you trick someone is probably no better in the long run, than not getting the job?

Anna Papalia 37:24
Yeah, absolutely. I think doing the harder work upfront, is what’s scary. And like we said earlier, obviously, if you need that job if you need them, if all those things, right, that that makes you extra willing to do and say things that aren’t in line with your personality. But even still, I don’t think you ever win by not being yourself. Now, there’s a caveat here, because there’s the professional version of you. And then there’s the you know, personal version, right? There’s the like, professional answers you would give, especially in corporate interviews versus like, what you would tell your friends, you know, there’s a difference between being personal and professional, we all know that line. But knowing how to show up as yourself authentically, in that professional way, is what I think is going to make you more successful in the long run. But even more than successful, happier and more engaged. And I think we’re having a crisis right now, people are having a very, very complicated relationship with work. And I think one of the ways it starts is by this is this pretending to be something that we’re not. And I wrote a personality assessment to help people better understand who they are. So they can have these lightbulb moments ahead of interviews are in the job search and go, Wait a minute, this is who I really am. But why am I acting like this? And perhaps that’s part of my problem, because you can’t just always blame your company. You can’t always blame the jobs that you’ve had or your bosses, right. And for hiring managers, like I said earlier, we can’t always just blame all the candidates, we have to take some personal responsibility and show up authentically. And that’s really hard. That’s harder than pretending

Rob Stevenson 39:17
it is. And this is advice we’ve had since childhood, just to be yourself. But I mean, who am i Anna? It’s not an easy question, as you, you know, really is trying to introspect. What does it mean to show up authentically?

Anna Papalia 39:30
Well, I know we can wax on philosophically about who you are, and all those things, but from a basic standpoint, in writing a personality assessment, you’re either introverted or extroverted. Or an ambivert. Right? Like you’re either accommodating or steadfast or somewhere in between. And I know it’s not sexy or doesn’t sound very interesting, and people don’t like to believe this, but there are basic tenants of personality. And that’s how personality assessments exist. That’s how I wrote mine. Right? So you bases on an x and y axis and your interview style comes from your personality, not your career, not who your boss was not who you’re pretending to be like, it comes from who you are. You’re either introverted or extroverted, or somewhat of that ambivert. In between, there’s really only three options there. But we like to believe that we’re so much more complicated than we actually are. It’s, it’s pretty easy to pinpoint someone’s personality and only four to five questions.

Rob Stevenson 40:30
That’s so interesting. And what I love about the personality assessment, too, is it’s not merely just like, you are a Gemini, you know, Virgo rising. Like, also, it was like a half personality profile half workbook, you know, there’s like, here are some of these interview questions that you should prepare for, that you probably haven’t thought about, because of you know, how you typically show up in conversations. That was really interesting, and helpful to me as I introspected. And so the results I got very fun for me to read, it wasn’t like reading about themselves. But then I’m curious, like, the book is not a personality assessment. The book is more like, is it about all of this? Is it about like, how to take these into account as you interview?

Anna Papalia 40:30
Yeah, so the process went, you know, I, I developed the personality assessment. And I wanted everyone to be able to receive a customized workbook that outlined how they were in an interview, I wanted to create a personality assessment, where you, Rob could be like, Okay, I’m a challenger. And these are the things I have to work on your name is throughout it, it’s highly customized. And then from there, I wanted to write a book on all four interview styles. So if, for example, a client gets their interview ology profile, and they discovered their interview style, then when my book comes out in January, I hope they get my book, and then they can read about all four interview styles. So the book outlines how I discovered the interview styles, a bit of my personal story, lots of client anecdotes. And then there are two chapters on each charmer challenger examiner on harmonizer. And then the final chapter outlines what I discovered when I discovered interview styles. So it’s really you get a customized workbook to figure out who you are. And then if you want to dive deeper in maybe take a guess at what your bosses or what your friends are, or whatever, you can get the book to read about all of them.

Rob Stevenson 42:25
It’s fantastic. I definitely recommend the book, I recommend the personality assessment, I love to get a personality assessment, and this one was totally unique than the other ones that I have had. We are creeping up or actually no, we’ve we’ve soared past optimal podcast length, but it’s only because I really enjoyed talking to you. And before I let you go, I want to ask you to kind of look around the corner, you’re in a unique position, because you get to speak to people who are out there job searching, you kind of understand what they are seeing in the market. So over the next year or so what do you think is coming down the pipeline for folks on the talent side of things,

Anna Papalia 42:58
I am in a very unique situation, because I was 10 years on the HR side of the table. And now 10 plus years on this coaching side of the table, I work frequently with both hiring managers and people looking for jobs. And I think that we are in a very interesting inflection point. I think that job seekers, you know, we know that with COVID, a lot of the jobs were 100%, virtual. Now they’re hybrid, and they’re creeping more towards everyone going back to the office. And it is happening, I’m seeing it with all of my clients, I have clients all around the world, and certainly all around the country, where they are getting squeezed and pushed to, you know, there are less opportunities for them to work virtually. And I also see on the talent side that they are getting asked to show up differently, that they are no longer in a position of power, there is a shortage of talent, they need to be accountable in a new and different way than they ever have before. They need to stop ghosting candidates because there aren’t as many as there used to be. I think people that are working in the talent space are having to face some brutal facts about the reality of what we’re living in. Also, they’re also going through layoffs and they at a moment’s notice could be on the other side of the table interviewing. And with that comes, I hope, a great deal of empathy, like how am I treating candidates and applicants right now? And how would I treat them if it were me or if I was going through this process? Because looking for a job can be dehumanizing. It can feel so uncertain and it’s incredibly stressful. And as talent folks, we have a tendency to forget the power that we wield and we have a tendency to forget just how difficult it is to be on the other side. So I think it’s really complex for both people. Job seekers are certainly feeling more empowered because there’s a shortage of talent. We know that and the job seekers are feeling more empowered to push for more things. salary transparency, all the trends quiet quitting quiet quitting is just a term for something that’s been going on forever. And then, you know, directors of talent are being forced to show up in a way that they never had before. Because they don’t have the candidates that they used to have, like I used to post a job and get three or 400 applicants right. Now, it might be 20 or 80. And you have to treat people differently when you don’t have as many. And that’s just the facts of what’s happening right now. I think what what COVID did to the real estate market is what COVID did to the talent market. And we are trying to figure out how to as talent folks how to be now we don’t have the power the way we did before. And that’s unsettling to a lot of people, which you can either like hold on to your shred of power, or you can let go and evolve. And I think that’s what this moment is calling for us to do.

Rob Stevenson 45:55
Yes, I totally agree. I think that people who adapt will be best served and I think that you might be better served to be adaptable if you understand a bit more about yourself and your interviewing style so I will plug once more your awesome book and the work you’re doing over there at interview ology. It’s in the show notes if you want to check it out folks out there in podcast land. Anna, thank you for being here with me and being gracious with your time I’ve loved chatting with you. This was a total delight. So I really appreciate you being on the show today.

Anna Papalia 46:22
A lot of fun. Thank you so much for having me.

Rob Stevenson 46:26
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