Interviewology with Anna Papalia
Recently, I’ve heard several prospective clients share that they have made it to the final round of the interview process but did not land the role – coming in as a strong runner up. What candidates rarely consider is that 90% of hiring managers aren’t trained on how to interview, so they fall prey to their implicit bias when judging candidates and making hiring decisions.
Job seekers, equally as mystified by the process, often follow stale advice, memorizing rote answers that aren’t true to who they are. I recently interviewed Anna Papalia on my podcast, Your Working Life and she shared extraordinary insight about improving the process for hiring managers and job seekers. Listen to the episode here.
Interviewology – The New Science of Interviewing
Anna Papalia, is TikTok’s “Interview Expert” with 1.5M social media followers and shory and savvy videos to help nail your next interview. Her new book, INTERVIEWOLOGY: The New Science of Interviewing reveals a new language, backed in science and grounded in four unique interview styles, which helps both hiring managers and job seekers to name and understand their unique interviewing tendencies.
Job interviews determine the future of individuals and companies, so why don’t we have a common language to discuss and understand them?
In Interviewology, Papalia tells her own inspiring story, discusses how an interview changed her life, and shares stories of her own clients along with practical and pragmatic tips. A groundbreaking guide that finally answers the question of how do you interview, Interviewology provides a much-needed language to understand interviews and guides readers on how to shed their own personal biases, discover their unique interview style, and embrace the power of self-awareness.
The Interviewers are Lame
It’s a sad situation that the most important business decisions are made in interviews yet 90% of hiring managers are never trained to interview and there is no widely accepted way to talk about an interview.
I too have sat on the other side of the hiring table and considered candidates for roles. I often found it hard to debrief after interviews with my colleagues because a lot of the language was vague: “I didn’t like that candidate” and “I don’t think that person has what it takes.” Or the proverbial, “That candidate reminds me of me – let’s hire them.”
Papalia’s research found that when we remove the judgment and see everyone’s interview style as valuable, we are better able to evaluate candidates. Less snap judgment and more open minded.
The Great Disconnect
The disconnect begins because we believe that interview performance predicts someone’s ability to do the job. Interview performance just determines if someone is good at interviewing, not necessarily whether they are going to be good at the job.
We need to be honest – most of the interviews conducted in America are social interviews which only show us whether we like someone, NOT whether they are qualified for and can do the job. For the most part we hire people because we liked them in an interview. This almost always leads to bad hires because liking someone has nothing to do with whether they can do the job. We first need to understand our interview style and then conduct structured, behavioral, and technical interviews.
According to Papalia,
“I say to every client, an interview in the most basic sense is a set of questions about you, and the more you know yourself the better you’ll do. So, I created a personality assessment to first help my students, then my clients and now everyone discover their interview style and help them increase their self-awareness.
We’ve all had that moment after a consequential interview when we walked out and thought to ourselves, “I hope they understood me. I hope I came across the way I intended.” It’s a universal fear. Everyone at some point has wondered what impression I am making, especially in a job interview.”
It’s essential to prepare for every phase of the interview from the screening call to the final round. Many believe that are bad at interviewing. This is a myth. No one is bad at interviewing. Papalia believes, and I agree, you are just unprepared – and you can learn.
Another myth is that you should just “tell someone what they want to hear” in an interview. That is a terrible strategy because you simply don’t know what someone wants to hear. Even if you had it on good authority that if you said x, y and z that you’d get the job, that is a bad strategy because it means you have to pretend to be something you’re not. While that may land you the job, it’s not a good long-term strategy, because you can’t pretend forever. Interviewing well means knowing who you are, showing up authentically and taking a risk.
The Society of Human Resource Management SHRM reported in January 2024 that a recession is unlikely and the job market is steady with fewer organizations laying off and many roles to be filled. If you are on the job market, now is the time to polish your interview stories, take a deep dive into your self-awareness, and develop a compelling narrative about the value your bring to a new role and the organization.
The fastest way to improve your hiring is to take a closer look at who you are/why you like what you like in interviews and challenge yourself. Our biases are born in our preferences. Most hiring managers have strong preferences. Papalia found in her research is that those preferences don’t help us make better hires. In fact, they do the opposite and lead us to hire mini me’s and create lopsided cultures that lack diversity.
It’s essential for the candidates and the hiring mangers to come to the table prepared and Papalia book can be a great place to start. She writes about the four different interview styles, what their priorities are in an interview, and what they say about the person:
- Charmers who think, “I want to be liked”
- Challengers who think, “I want to be me”
- Examiners who think, “I want to get it right”
- Harmonizers who think, “I want to adapt”
I thoroughly enjoyed my interview with Anna Papalia and value her fresh take on interviewing. Whether you ar searching for top candidates, or if you are the candidate, check out her book, my podcast, and her Interviewology videos on TikTok.
Interview Your Boss
Remember that interviewing is a 2-way street, and you have the right to interview your prospective boss before you accept a role to determine if there is alignment. I wrote an article on LinkedIn about this very thing and I encourage you to check it out, so you know what to ask to determine if this boss will empower you to do your best work.
Game on – it’s time to reimagine the interview process!