The Get the Message Podcast
Feb. 21, 2023

Better Job Interviews with Anna Papalia

Like the communication between a company and a consumer, interpretations, tones, word choices and other factors can make or break communication between a job applicant and a company. Ana Papalia is the founder and CEO of a company that specializes in...

Like the communication between a company and a consumer, interpretations, tones, word choices and other factors can make or break communication between a job applicant and a company. Ana Papalia is the founder and CEO of a company that specializes in improving outcomes in job interviews by focusing on key factors that impact both parties. She joins us today to discuss some of those, especially regarding the different interview styles that come into play.

Anna's company - Shift Profile
Anna on LinkedInInstagramTikTok
Indeed article on 10 Things Not to Say in a Job Interview


Scott: Welcome to today's episode of Get the Message.


Scott: Last year. Mary Keough joined us to discuss how job postings are part of marketing. Like anything, the content conveys messages to job applicants about an organization's approach to a job and knowledge about a job. You might also be able to imagine their company culture or how you will be managed. Today we're going to talk about communication messages and interpretations in a job interview, mainly from the applicant side of things like job postings and marketing content.


There are certain types of communications and interpretations that take place based on experience. Here on the podcast, we've talked about the instant judgments consumers make due to seeing repetitive content and messaging come from companies. We've also talked about the existence of this trend being due to marketers defaulting to the way they've just seen things done over the years, and they just continue to do it that way. Recruiters and hiring managers are in a similar boat. Certain repetitive or canned answers can generate a disappointed or negative response.


They can get an all-too-common response that they know is disingenuous or can't response, and the candidate might choose to respond that way because they figure it's just a common, acceptable response or it's a common piece of advice spread around by less than reliable sources like marketing. Sometimes the recipient doesn't need to hear a completely different message. It might just need to be phrased in a different way. shared a few examples of this. They say instead of expressing frustrations or saying bad things about a previous employer, it's better to focus on positives like this.


While I have enjoyed my time in my current position, I'm really looking to apply the skills and experience I've gained to my role over the last five years to a supervisory position where I can help others grow and their success. Unfortunately, my current employer doesn't have any supervisory positions available and doesn't expect any to become available soon. In a rush to answer a challenging question. Indeed, says it's not a good idea to just simply say, I don't know and instead say something like this. That's a great question.


If you don't mind, I would like to take a minute to think about it. And they also warn against canned, cliched or overly used answers. Like my weakness is I'm a perfectionist. Instead, they say it's better to share something you've learned from a prior situation. So let's say you've been asked what is a weakness of yours? And you respond like this. Well, in my last role, I would sometimes struggle with taking on too many responsibilities and then find myself overburdened. And while I don't like to say no to a task or project, I was able to learn that it's okay to ask for help and delegate tasks so our entire team could accomplish our goals together and on time.


My guest today also recommends not answering the weakness question with the perfectionist answer. And she would know she has over 15 years of experience in corporate recruiting, talent acquisition, training and human resources. She is now the founder and CEO of her own company. And on their Web site, she explains why she started this organization. She says, For years, I worked in recruiting and sat helpless as candidates and hiring managers made simple mistakes. I couldn't beat them good answers.


I couldn't slip them a list of insightful questions to ask, and I certainly couldn't give them any negotiating tips. I decided that what I wanted to do was teach people on both sides of the table how to interview. And while it may not be ideal for me to tell her that I was guilty of the perfectionist answer in a job interview, I think you can look forward to her answers, insights and advice. On today's episode.




Scott: Hello and thank you so much for being here today. Joining us is Anna Papalia, the founder and CEO of Shift Profile, a company dedicated to empowering people to show their best selves and as a result, interview better. They do this with data driven trading and research backed assessments, including helping you define the type of interviewer that you are. In fact, she has a book coming out next year that will give you a comprehensive look at the different interviewer styles commonly seen today. I discovered Anna on LinkedIn, sharing quick and digestible advice on all things related to the job interview process. So, I knew she would bring a lot of value to the conversation today. Anna, thank you so much for joining us.


Anna: Hi, Scott. Thank you for having me.


Scott: My pleasure. And this is a really important time. I mean, it's always an important time to be talking about things you can be doing to help yourself find the right job. And there's just so much advice out there. I mean, it's it's it's like so many things that you search online. You can find 500 different variations of advice out there. But I really think that since you come from an area of so much experience, you really have a genuine interest in helping people out make a difference. I really like the fact that you're putting so much effort into helping people, especially on the interview side, make a better impression and also just have a better sense of self-awareness, which I know I won't be able to get into as well.


Scott: But one of the things that I think about and I'm just wondering, since you've kind of seen this from both sides, you know, I was just talking about how there's tons of advice out there and you may even still see advice that, you know, is kind of outdated. You're obviously telling people to keep up with trends and things you're seeing when it comes to things you're doing on your resumé, maybe something you say or don't say in an interview. But if you're telling the people that are job searching to do this, not do this, because that might be a little outdated or old fashioned and you're better off making a better case changing.


Scott: Do you think people still have to kind of worry about the other side of the equation not evolving the way that were telling jobseekers do that Maybe they're like, for example, you talk about on like a resume to not focus on an objective. There's obviously a lot better things you can do there because the objective is to find a job. But do people have to worry about the company maybe still clinging to old fashioned things to look for in a resume like an objective? And they go, oh, well, you know, they don't have an objective, so move on.


Scott: Or is it really a situation where you're making a good impression? Perhaps some of those things don't even matter, despite the fact that they may still look for those type of things?


Anna: Well, first of all, thank you for noticing that it's important to me to empower people and give people tools and really help the job seekers in a meaningful way. I left my position as director of talent almost 12 years ago because I kind of got sick of judging people for a living. And I know that interviewing is a skill that we can teach people and they get better at it. And I've helped over 10,000 clients and with my Facebook, TikTok and Instagram platform now thousands of people.


Anna: So for me, I would say how I'm going to answer this question is it's less about worrying about what the company wants, meaning are they going to be upset if I don't have an objective or not? Like, I think that's the old way of doing things. The way I teach my clients is to empower them to be themselves. Because we know that that's where real competence comes from. And I believe that most interviewing advice out there is, is either it's usually in two or three buckets. It's either very, very specific, like you could Google interview books and it will be like, you know, how to get your flight attendant interview, you know, how to nail your physician assistant interview.


Anna: Like, that doesn't help most people. And the second type of interview book that's very common is memorize these interview answers to get the job, which I think is just the worst advice ever. Imagine giving that advice to any other industry. Just memorize something and you'll get you know, and you'll get the job like that. That's terrible advice. You know, it's basically telling you to lie or pretend to be something that you're not in order to get a job. And then you're in a terrible job because you didn't. Is that in yourself, realistically? For me, I just signed a book deal with HarperCollins, and I basically my book is about the way that we interview and how we can show up authentically, because I collected research over six years and discovered that we all interview in one of four ways.


Anna: And if you first understand your your priority in interviews, if it's to connect or if it's to be heard or if it's to get it right or if it's to adapt, you're better able to shift and understand who you are and connect with the other people. So I'm moving away from that old advice, which is, you know, memorize these answers, get there 15 minutes early. You know, do these things and you'll get the job. And I want to start a conversation around how do you be the most authentic version of yourself? Know, how are you in an interview? How do you lean into that? And then from there, how do you extrapolate what your shameful weaknesses are when you know who you are? And that's a much different conversation than telling people to memorize the perfect answers, because that's not what gets people the job.


Scott: I think about back in college when I took acting classes and did things in theater for a bit. And I remember an instructor saying that there was a difference between memorizing your lines and learning them. And I love that. I think, you know, memorizing, you know, it's just a program, basically. You're just, you know, your brain's focused on memorizing every single word versus learning it as something that allows you to put a lot more, I guess, humanization and natural emotion and elements to your performance.


Scott: And I have to think that there is some overlap here in what you're talking about, because you could go in there and your brain is so focused on I got to say this, I got to say this, I got to say it this way, and you might even be thinking ahead. Okay. This must mean that we're going to get to this question. And when I have to remember when they get to this question and meanwhile, they're talking to you about something else. Whereas if you just learn a little more about yourself and learn about how you can express what you bring to a job and what your strengths are and why you're interested in the position, that's going to be much more powerful than just trying to memorize a bunch of things because your brain is going to be so focused on making sure you're hitting all those notes and you're not really giving yourself a chance to really show what you're about.


Anna: That's exactly right. This is the most important thing I realized in my research. And it's very simple. An interview, in the most basic sense, is a set of questions about you. And so the better you know yourself, the better you'll do. So all of my clients I've seen over the years that have really this deep well of self-awareness, they know who they are. They know why they're looking for a job. They know their strengths and weaknesses. So it's not about regurgitating memorized answers. It's in the interview you come across as having a self-awareness.


Anna: You really know yourself. You're confident because when you answer these questions, it doesn't feel fake. And yeah, critters have fantastic bolt detectors. We're really good at understanding. Are they just telling me what I want to hear? Because that's just the right interview answers. You know the difference. And that's what gets you a job, you know, when you're confident and you present yourself well. It comes from understanding who you are. That's why I created a personality assessment that discovers your interview style and produces a 40-page customized report, because that's what I think was lacking in our industry.


Anna: You know, in teaching people how to interview better, people need to understand what impression they're truly making. What are you really doing? How are you really coming across? And also help them facilitate their self-awareness? That's what's going to prepare you for an interview better than anything else.


Scott: Yeah, I love the fact that you're talking about how recruiters and hiring managers, you know, they've seen it all or they've seen a lot. And there's almost like red flags that come up, which is, again, even in a lot of the things I talk about here, there's similar things. You know, how consumers are online and they're have so many bad experiences, they immediately are making judgments on things because of what they're used to seeing. And in the case of being a job, applicants stand out very much like it might be. A company is trying to stand out.


Scott: I wonder if because of that, I mean, would you say that people might need to realize that it's easier perhaps to come up with unique things about themselves or unique approaches that they can bring to an interview? I mean, it might be, you know, just a tweak of something or just a change in attitude because there's so much overlap, so much things that hiring managers and recruiters are used to hearing and watching people say and do, because maybe they've read a lot of those books, we were just talking about that are telling them to say these answers.


Scott: I mean, would you say it's relatively maybe easier than people realize to maybe just tweak this or change your perception on this or change the way you talk about something or, you know, just these little tweaks that you might be able to implement going into an interview that might make a world of. Difference just because there's so much overlap. That's seems to be a lot more cut and paste robotic and, you know, kind of typical answers from candidates that are job searching.


Anna: Well, I think it's it's two things. I think first, you need to have the right mindset. I mean, in interviewing in a large part is a head game. It's a mindset game, right? If you go in thinking that you're not worthy of this position, if you aren't sure how to sell yourself, if you are nervous or scared or unsure, that's going to affect your performance, number one. Number two, one of the best questions to prepare for, obviously you should prepare for all of them. But to your point is, why should we hire you? You know, if you can't answer that question going into an interview, you're not going to do very well.


Anna: Because what that question gets at is, who are you? Why? How do you stack up against the competition? Why should I pay you a salary? Can you do this job? And if you can't answer that question, you're going to bomb at the most basic sense of the interview, right? The subtext is why you in the whole interview. So I coach clients and I do lots of videos on this, on TikTok and Facebook on how do you figure that out ahead of the interview? You know, what is your unique value proposition? What is your unique perspective? What do you bring to the table? What are what are your past successes in your other jobs? Why should I care about that? You know, can you do this position and why you know, and it could be a variety of things, right? It could be you didn't grow up in America.


Anna: Maybe you grew up in a different country and you speak two or three languages. And that gives you a unique perspective. That's an incredible thing to highlight in an interview. Or perhaps you didn't go to school for this career of your original major. Maybe you went to school for accounting and then you got into insurance, for example. And that gives you a unique perspective that someone would care about. Right? And all of these things that you can sense sometimes might be a liability or perhaps you're ashamed of. You know, you didn't go to school for this or you didn't grow up in all those things.


Anna: You can turn into a great strength if you own it, if you're confident about it, and if you talk about it in a way that like me as a hiring manager, why would I care? Why is that interesting? How do you stack up against the competition?


Scott: Do you think that one of the things that can really help people out when we start talking about some things that are considered maybe typical answers, things you recognize immediately are very typical or maybe just canned answers is just being prepared with some specifics. You know, my wife has had to interview several people as a manager, and one of the things she's talked about in the past is you'll have somebody come in and she'll ask them a question, which I think is another very typical interview question about, you know, those scenarios where explain a situation where, you know, you were doing X, this happened, you know, maybe it was it didn't work out the way you wanted or maybe a challenge came up and you have to explain, okay, how did you, you know, fix that challenge or what did you do with the team or what was your plan B? Things like that.


Scott: And it might be easy for someone to go. Well, I responded quickly and I made some changes and things were great when in actuality, you know, that's kind of a red flag to the hiring manager because they're thinking, okay, well, if there's no specifics there, then maybe I'm not even getting a real answer. Or maybe there's something that is getting covered up in all this.


Anna: Exactly right. In recruiting, we call that an empty suit. You know, if I interview somebody and they're giving me these high level, I also call them like political answers. You sound like a politician. You're just up here and you haven't given me a lot to hang on to. And it just gives a really, it's like a red flag gets bad taste in your mouth. You're unsure if this person really knows what they're talking about. And those are called behavioral questions. And there's a great formula to answer. Those called the Star Formula Situation Task Action and Results. We walk through the five interview questions to prepare for in a shift profile and give you guidance on how to answer these.


Anna: And to your point, it's incredibly important to go prepared with micro stories and details. And this this is the thing we're hitting on that a lot of people think that they're going to do better on the spot. They think that interview is just supposed to be conversational and I don't want to sound canned. That is just an excuse. You tell yourself not to prepare. I've been in thousands of interviews. I've never seen anyone do better on the spot. Everyone does better. If you have some of these stories prepared because you're going to need stories about behavioral questions like these.


Anna: Tell me about a time you dealt with a tough client. You're going to need the standard interview questions like What are your strengths and weaknesses? If you Google this and I'll just say, you know, say you're a perfectionist, right? Do you know how many times I've heard that answer? Every time. I just want to roll my eyes, right? Oh, really? You're a perfectionist to a 2.8 GPA, right? Lining up here. You can tell when it's pretend or memorize something. So that's my point about being confident in who you are and coming across as really well qualified and well-prepared.


Anna: We're not looking for perfect looking for you. I want to know who you are. So, yes, there are some guidelines around strengths and weaknesses. What you should and shouldn't talk about. Right. You should never say in an interview. Right. Like, what are your weaknesses as your late, you know, And you can't get anywhere on time, right? Yeah. Like there's some basics, right? But you need to give a real weakness. Like, I really want to know, do you have self-awareness? If I'm going to be your manager, I need to know what you're working on. And I have my own weaknesses.


Anna: I just want to see if you have some sense, like, are you a professional? I interviewed a kid once and I said, What are your you know, I have some strengths. And then I naturally say, What's your weakness now? He was like, I don't have any weaknesses. And I looked him dead in his eye. And I said, Well, I think we just found one - self-awareness.


Scott: Well, there you go.


Anna: Like.


Scott: That's a heck of a way to learn one, isn't it?


Anna: Yeah. And like, you know, there's this spectrum of, like, too cocky in an interview, right? And then, like, too humble and in a facing. So you need to be somewhere in the middle. So you need to know these things ahead of an interview. You need to have these stories prepare for those behavioral questions and all of the standard interview questions. And you can't go so far one end of the spectrum, like you have to be honest and you have to give a mike or a story to illustrate the example so it doesn't look like you're an empty suit and you're giving the recruiter something to talk about and they're getting to know you.


Interviewing is basically dating, right? It's corporate. Dating is what it is.


Scott: Yeah. If you give a totally honest answer, you know, authentic answer and they don't like it, well, then in a lot of ways, you almost have to think, Well, then that's just not where you were supposed to end up. Right? But on the flip side, you might be surprised at what honesty can actually get you versus, Oh, I can't be honest. I need to come up with this candy coated answer, which again, nine times out of ten, they know that's what it is. Because I think about even something that we've talked about here before where, yeah, I think it was somebody on LinkedIn talked about how they didn't have a lot of experience in this job they are applying for, but they really wanted to do it.


Scott: They had some edge. I think they had some educational background in it, but they hadn't really had an opportunity to get a job and be able to say, you know, yeah, I've done this for five years. He had early zero experience and when he went into the interviews, he was honest about that and he framed it in a way where he said, Look, I don't have experience in it, but I'm really passionate about it. I want to hit the ground running. I want to make a difference. I want to be in this. And one company obsessed over, you know, while I don't have the experience, he didn't get the job.


Scott: But then the other company looked at that and said, you know what? He doesn't have the experience, but there's just something about the fact that he's honest about this that tells us something about his character. And they hired him and then he went on to be a great employee for him. He was like their leading sales person or something like that. So I have to think too, that you can't always assume that you have to try to fool anybody because the honesty, when kind of framed in the right way, could still convey a message that you're the right fit, even if you don't have something like that, or you don't have three years experience doing something, but you demonstrate you really want the job, you're really passionate about it, you really want to apply yourself and make a difference and you want to do it for them.


Anna: Yeah, I think this comes from a mindset issue. I worked with a client the other day who told me that she wanted to get to the point where she was nailing every interview, where she and she got every offer. And I said, No, no, that should never, ever be your goal. Do you want to marry every person you date know interviewing is dating? You're figuring out if you're going to be a good fit. And if your mindset is that you're going to have 100% success rate in interviews, then you're doing it wrong. You are absolutely doing it wrong because to your point, you have to be honest about who you are, and that may rub some people the wrong way.


Anna: Or you may reveal in the conversation that there's a disconnect. There's nothing wrong with that. I would rather figure that out in two or three interviews rather than two or three years wasted working at a company that I wasn't a good fit. Right. And you can have more effective interviews if you are honest. And if they're honest, right. Everyone lies in interviews. Let's be honest about that. Okay. Are you ready to lie about their things? Job seekers, you know, overemphasize or they, you know, they fudge some things and they say that they're better at things that they are, you know, everyone's always an Excel.


Anna: Got it. Okay. But if we're just more honest with each other, we'll be able to arrive at a better decision. And a better decision doesn't mean you're going to get the offer. You know, rejection is protection, as they say. It's kind of a blessing to get rejected. Sometimes it's it's kind of a blessing to not get every job.


Scott: One of the questions you've talked about in your videos that I thought was interesting and I was trying to think, you know, have I had any of these in an interview? And I think I have. It just it was just quite different from your example on that was the brain teaser questions and, you know, the things that are meant to kind of put you on the spot and see how you think. I think I've had those the ones that I've talked about in the past or I had I've had an interview where and this was at a law office, this was back when I was in college and I was looking for a part time job being a runner at a law firm, which was kind of fun.


Scott: And I just remember being in the interview and the guy just was kind of looking me over and he said, Let me ask you something. What do you think the purpose of a tie is?


Scott: Can you talk about something you've never thought about in your entire life? And then the next question later on was, do I prefer an automatic or a stick? And I went stick because of the gas mileage. So I was you know, I've had I've had those and I've had I even had a second round interview at one point in time where I had a really good first interview. And they really liked me a lot. And they go, they're like, Look, we think you're a great fit and now you're going to interview with our boss and we're just going to tell you up front that he's just going to throw random things at you just to see how you respond, you know, if you squirm or whatever.


Scott: And so I get in the interview with them and he found out I had done radio. I was at the Dallas public radio station for three and a half years and right in the middle of an interview and this was like for health care copywriting, right in the middle of the interview, he goes, Why don't you just say something in your radio voice?


Scott: And I'm like, What? Because now even it even when I was on the radio, I talked pretty conversationally. And then apparently he was in radio, but he was like disc jockey radio. So he literally also just said, Well, let me show you mine. And he did this, you know, Yeah, we're on the air and, you know, in Chicago, you know, whatever. And so I, I had to kind of sort of do it. But it was really kind of bizarre. I mean, it's like I have to think that, you know, I wonder sometimes a brain teaser questions are depending on the person.


Scott: Everything's always dependent on the person, you know, to see if there's something they can get out of you. And you've got to be able to try to at least provide an answer. I think the point you make; the answer needs to show your thought process and maybe some of the ones I've had have just been, you know, let's just see if he's willing to do what I asked him to do.


Anna: Well, a lot of brainteaser questions don't have a right answer. Yeah. So, to your point, they just want to see you squirm. They want to see if you can think under pressure. Yeah, they're testing your mettle. They're testing your personality. They want to see, you know what? If a client asks you a really tough question, are you going to start sweating or are you going to freak out? Are you not going to be able to hold your own in the conversation? You know how many golf balls get into an airplane? First thing you know, the recruiter isn't over there.


Anna: Like, okay, I have the right answer. So, it's giving yourself permission ahead of the interview to understand that you're going to be throwing some curveballs. And there are no points at the at the end of the interview for you, having like, answered really quickly and talking a blue streak like there's nothing wrong. In fact, you look more professional and less nervous if you say something like, That's a great question. Let me think about that for a moment or chuckle a little bit and play along. Right. Because part of what they're doing is they want to see like what your attitude when you're giving some crazy question.


Anna: You know, there are also personality questions like, you know, how would your friends describe you if you wrote your autobiography? What would you name it and why? And those will throw you for a loop, especially if that's not really something that you normally think about. So there's nothing wrong with pausing. In fact, you'll have a better answer if you allow yourself to think about it for a moment. I've spent 12 years teaching at the Fox School business and we did lots of mock interviews with all of our students, and the worst answers always came from students who rushed into the answer. Right.


Anna: And they felt like they just had to start talking. And then they just and then you could see it in their face and they're like, Oh, I don't know where I'm going with this answer. And I've committed and now I have to keep going. And it's a terrible answer. You don't really have do overs in real interviews, so take a pause, take a moment and know that they may ask you some questions that don't necessarily have right answers. You just have to talk it out and be conversational and know that that's what they're testing, is that they don't want you to get at a right answer necessarily.


Scott: So maybe what you recommend or not recommend is it show creativity. If they ask you how many golf balls can fit into an airplane, what can they come back and respond with a question and go, Is that a 747 hour C-5 Galaxy?


Anna: It tells you something about a candidate. You ask them a question and then they have for you back with questions. Yeah, right. So if I say, you know, how many golf ball things that are playing, like what? What kind of airplane are their seats in the airplane? And are there people that tells me something about your personality? Yeah. Okay. In just in general, I have I've worked with lots of clients and interviewed lots of people. If I ask you a question and I'm always getting back a question or you're challenging me or you're being a contrarian, it's not going to make my job easy.


Anna: As a recruiter, as a hiring manager, it's quite frankly, a pain. Like, I need to get these questions answered. And while we all want it to be somewhat conversational, we know that structured interviews are better and more scientific for hiring managers. So, there's partly, like you, there's an interview style, a challenger who thrives in this. They want to ask tough questions and they want to get all of their thoughts out. And they, quite frankly, are challenging to interview. And their strengths and weaknesses.


Anna: Their strengths, quite frankly, is that they are not really overly concerned with getting people to like them. They want to be heard and respected, and we need challengers in the world. But interviewing them can be very difficult. So, challengers need to be coached on. How do you soften that a little bit? How do you become just slightly more accommodating? How do you know that this interview, they are getting to ask you questions and you'll have a time at the end to ask your questions. Each interview style has their distinct strengths and weaknesses, and that's definitely one of challengers.


Anna: So if I'm getting hit with a ton of questions at the end of the interview, I'm thinking, Oh, they're challenger.


Scott: Yeah. And one of the other type of interviewers you talk about is The Charmer, which I think is something really important for people to keep in mind, because I think The Charmer is one of the easiest traps to fall into because there's elements there where you're almost overselling and it's understandable. I mean, you know, if you're in a if you're in a tight place and you've got to get hired somewhere, it's really easy to, you know, maybe oversell yourself because, you know, you're just trying to, you know, get something.


Scott: The problem is, as you've demonstrated, that's something else that recruiters can recognize. And there is just that fine line. And I think this is one of those other areas when you talk about the importance of self-awareness, is knowing kind of where that line is between You want to show passion for the job, you want to show you're interested in the job, but coming from that place is probably going to have you communicating in a way that's a lot more effective because you're talking about the passion of it. Whereas if your brain is focused on, you know, hey, say all the right things, do all the right things, just tell them what they want to hear because we got to get this.


Scott: Then your communication is probably going to sound like that as well. So you kind of got to know where that line is. I would think between passion for the job and then overselling yourself in a way, because it just comes off a little too pushy or maybe even desperate in a way that might work against you.


Anna: In discovering the interview styles and conducting the research that I did and collecting all the data, What I discovered is that there are very distinct ways about going about this, and charmers are never going to come across as examiners, for example, and examiners are charmers opposite, right? Yeah. And an examiner is the charmers opposite someone who is very private, skeptical of charm, and they don't go into interviews wanting to be liked. They go into interviews wanting to be seen as qualified.


Anna: They see interviews as a test that's either pass or fail. Let's imagine that bad examiner is unemployed. They really need a job. They're never going to be a charmer in interviews. They're just not. So what I discovered is these four distinct interview styles is connected to your personality, your levels of introversion and extroversion. So your distinct interview style is, yes, we can all shift. And that's why my project is called this a profile, right? In order to interview better. But your priority and your core foundation, how you are going to come across in an interview is always going to be as either a charmer challenge or examiner or harmonizer.


Anna: So it's not something that you can just like flip a switch. And I think that's interesting for hiring managers to know. And part of the thesis of my book that's coming out next year is like, listen, this is who this person is in an interview setting. None of us can really change who we are. For example, I'm a charmer in interviews and I know everything there is to know about my polar opposite The Examiner. But there is no way that I could ever go into an interview and pretend to be an examiner if I knew if I. If I got the insight like this. This hiring manager wants an examiner.


Anna: For example, I could pretend that much like I just can't, you know, I prefer to make a connection in the interview by being like. I want to get them to like me by telling stories, by making a connection. But charmers, to your point, sometimes forget to talk about their qualifications. They forget to use metrics or details because they're so focused on making that connection. Whereas examiners, for example, they forget to make the connection because they're just focused on their qualifications.


Anna: You see how this sets everyone up for different experiences? Yeah. Just because, you know, like, this person's going to like a charmer, you can't pretend to be something you're not. You are either an examiner or a charmer or a harmonizer or a challenger. That's just the way it is.


Scott: Do you think certain companies maybe prefer certain types of people in those categories over others?


Anna: Of course, I work with organizations that teach their higher managers to interview better using this framework, and we collect all the data so we can see how their organization skews. And there are certainly organizations that are skewed towards one style over the other, and it's because they're biased. They're incredibly biased. My assessment is scientifically valid, which means that there is a normal distribution in our data, right? But that means that not all women are charmers. Not all African-Americans are harmonizers. Right? There's an equal distribution of gender and age and race and type of industry in all interview styles.


Anna: So when we look at the general population, our data shows that there is an equal amount of each interview style. So when I go in and I test hiring managers and they're totally lopsided, like they have a lot of challengers and not a lot of harmonizers, that tells me something about the organization. And it's my job to go in and teach them that they are positively reinforcing one interview style in interviews. Right. Because here's the thing. Your organization changes depending on who you hire. The decisions that people make in the interview is the most important business decision we make.


Anna: It changes everything. It changes your organization, the effectiveness of your teams. If you are not implementing some of this in your diversity, equity and inclusion training, you are creating this very biased and lopsided culture. So this is another way to look at how we're making these decisions and our personal biases. Because here's the other universal truth that I really stumbled upon in my research is that we all prefer our style challengers want to be with other challengers, charmers want to be with other charmers.


Anna: It's just the way we are. Our brains think that we are better when we're in these homogeneous groups. Right? But all the research tells us that, in fact that is not true at all, that we need diversity in order to be better. Right. If you have a group of homogeneous people, they're more likely to overshare the same things. Right? And they overemphasize the things that they have in common. Whereas if you add a young person or an African-American or someone different to the group, they everyone else shares different things about themselves.


Anna: And that is really important when it comes to environments or work cultures that need to be innovative or creative. You need diversity. We need diversity, but our human brains try to keep it at a minimum with all these heuristics that we use. And it's problematic for so many reasons beyond diversity, equity, inclusion, just being the right thing. It's also we need it in order to do better at work. So interviewing better and understanding your interview style, you can unpack.


Anna: Yeah, well, you make a better impression. Certainly, if you're hiring manager, you're going to hire better and you're going to know where your biases come from. Because what I'll be honest with you as a charmer, I have a really hard time in an interview with someone who doesn't want to connect with me. Yeah. Who's just reporting at me this whole time. I feel like, do they really want the job? You know, are they right? Yeah. Like, are they prepared? Like, this feels weird. It feels cold. I don't have this connection, and it feels strange to me. But if I have this language, I know that. And I've been to thousands of interviews and debriefed with lots of hiring managers, and we don't have a formalized language to talk about this.


Anna: When I left the corporate world as a director of talent, one of my motivations was I want to be able to have a language like, why hasn't anyone ever studied this before, right? Like, Yeah, I want a hiring manager to be able to say, Listen, I know I'm a challenger in interviews, and the way this person answered is just going to, you know, rub me the wrong way, because this is not the way I look at it, but I can appreciate their perspective. It allows us to have a conversation in a real way other than debriefs, which usually happen like this. Well, I don't know. I just don't like them.


Scott: Perfect. Yeah.


Anna: What? What does that mean? You didn't like them? You know, I wanted to create a formalized language back in science and research that allows both job seekers and hiring managers to have an authentic. Experience and interviews. We all can talk about it in that way, right? Like, I'm a charmer, so I have a hard time interviewing with examiners for these reasons. Challenger Sometimes I can get along with other times they rubbing the wrong way too, and, you know, talking about it in that way.


Scott: I have to think that even something like that, making an impactful change like that can be one of those things that positively impacts the whole culture because that has to have, you know, impact that can spread all over all over the company. And suddenly you're probably finding due to that approach to diversity and all the different things that people are and how they communicate and their experience and their background, why they approach things the way they do. You know, if you have that in place at the very beginning and it becomes part of your culture, I have to assume, too, that that has a huge opportunity to impact how well you communicate on teams or how everybody's on the same page or how everybody's talking with customers.


Scott: I would think that, you know, just giving yourself that opportunity to acknowledge and examine those differences in those ways of communicating with all different types of people could benefit you well beyond just your interviews with candidates.


Anna: I think what I hope is that hiring managers, once they understand their interview style, will look past it, right? Because what happens is we see the way someone interview and we just don't like it. Like they always say, Right, well, I just don't like my what don't you like? And what I hope is that they start to see just because they interview differently than me doesn't mean that they can't do the job. Right. And that's a critical component to this. You have to know that your interview style, if your wires are getting crossed, they may translate that to he can't do the job right.


Anna: No, he's just not interviewing in the way that you would and that you prefer. And we know that hiring managers fall into the trap of hiring themselves all the time. They're looking for mini-tes. They're looking for people just like them. Because let's be honest, it's easier to manage people who are like you. That's why that happens. That homogeneous thing we were just talking about.


Anna: But if I can start the conversation around, we need all interview styles right in the workplace, just like we need all expressions of humanity in the workplace. That's going to change the conversation rather than I just don't like that person or I don't think that they can do the job well. What you're what you're seeing is how they interview. You're not seeing how they do the jobs. We need to look beyond that. That's the conversation I want to have.


One of the things that obviously is always on people's mind is salary. And I see this talked about a lot and I see, you know, even to this day, candidates asking, you know, questions online about should I ask about it here or how should I frame questions I have about salary? And then even beyond that, I've seen the other side of the equation say, I saw someone on LinkedIn not long ago, say something to the effect of, you know, we offered this person this salary and they just took it.


You know, we were talking about, you know, got to get something, just took it. And they actually had the budget to offer them about $20,000 more a year. But because there was no conversation, no negotiation, you know, that's kind of where everything landed. So, what are some of the important things that you tell candidates, especially in that interview process and how they should think about salary going into these conversations? Because there is a time and a place for it.


Yeah, I think that companies need to share their salaries on job descriptions. There's lots of patrons, parents in laws right now that are becoming more commonplace. Obviously, we don't have them in every state, but that's important. So that's the future, right? Until we get there, though, we have this problem. There's this weird vacuum of some states do it, some states don't, so you don't really know. And then in those situations, people will start to get all weirded out like, Well, I can apply to a job if I don't know the salary ranges. I always say get as many interviews as possible because interviewing is the skill that you get better at the more that you do it.


And it doesn't really matter if the salary is off. Like Take the Interview special gets a virtual interview. Take the interview in practice. Yeah, and I coach hiring managers on having that direct conversation about what they're paying and the range, and it should happen at the phone screen. It should happen on the posting. But if it doesn't, I don't think there's anything wrong with interviewing and seeing if it's a good fit before you even have that competition. Again. It's like dating. Go on the date, see if there's even a connection before you start talking about marriage.


Like, why are you rushing this? It looks weird and it will put a bad taste in their mouth. Yeah. So all of that aside, right? Like, imagine the hiring manager or the recruiter has done their job. They've told you what the range is. You understand that you're well within that range. You get to the. Your final round interview. Then they call you and make you an offer. The worst thing that you can do is just accept. I, as the director of Talent Acquisition, in all my years of recruiting, I can probably name on one or two hands the amount of people that ever negotiated.


That's. Yeah, terrible. Yeah. People just accept. And I wanted so badly making someone an offer. I wanted so badly to be like, Why would you just accept? What? Why would anyone make you an offer and not have more money in their back pocket for me? Maybe it's. I'm a natural negotiator. I'm a natural. Like, I'm going to see how much I can get right For people that are really intimidated by this process, I give them one question to start the conversation, and it's three words and it's so simple.


You get an offer, you say, Thank you so much. I'm very excited. I can't. I'm just thrilled You show your gratitude and appreciation and excitement and then you say, is this negotiable? Mm hmm. And that's it. It's the simplest question to ask. And they're going to say one or two things they're going to say Now, I'm sorry, this is the best we can do. And then you know that you got the best offer and you can sleep with me. Yeah, Or most likely they're going to say, Oh, maybe.


What are you thinking? They're not going to come back to you and say, Oh, yeah, here, have another 50 grand. Right. You have to be prepared and you have to know what Earn it. So let's say that they offer you a hundred, but you were really hoping for 130. You say. Is this negotiable? They say maybe. What were you thinking? You say, I was hoping for 130 and they'll say, Well, let me let me talk to our CFO. Let me get back to you. Might take a day or two. Let me run it up the corporate flagpole and I'll get back to you. And a couple of days we get back to you and say, well, we can't get you to 130, but we can get you to 120 and I can give you a couple extra PTO days.


There you.




Perfect. But you have to start the conversation by saying, is this negotiable? Never, ever, ever accept an offer on the spot about anything. It doesn't matter. You got a general contractor come to your house, You know you're buying a house. It doesn't matter. You never accept that. Why would you do that? Yeah. I don't understand. Never, ever.


Well, it's like that whole. You know, that saying that applies to so many things. Sometimes it's like you don't know unless you ask. If you don't ask, you don't know what would have been possible. Really? And you just have what you have. Right?


Anna: So you may just want a job and you may be so worried that they're going to take it away if you try to negotiate. That's why that question is so good. Just start with a question, right? Yeah. And this is why it's so important to negotiate, because once you're in a job, you're only going to get 2 to 5% bumps year after year and maybe not even that if the economy is bad. Yeah. So, you're locked in at that rate. And I don't even care if you are making 60 and you go and you get an offer for 90 or 100 and you're just over the moon and it's just still negotiate like they have more money.


Anna: Recruiters are never going to go to an offer unless they say to you and I have in the past said like, listen, this is my best offer. Like, listen for those. Like, they'll tell you that, like, this is my absolute best offer. I'm coming to you. You're at the top of our range. This is the best I can do. But you could still say, is this negotiable? They'll say no. Like I said, it's the best offer. That's fine. Yeah. You know, you've got the absolute best offer, but that's another reason why you should make sure that you're getting the best offer, because you're going to be locked in for 2 to 5 years. And we all know you have to look for a new job in order to make more money.


Anna: So, make sure you're making the absolute best of this new position and setting yourself up for success.


Scott: Awesome. Anna, thank you so much for all of your insights today. I'm going to provide links to your social and your website for your company, obviously. And you mentioned the book, which you said is coming out next year. Did you want it to tell people a little bit more about that and maybe anything else that you have coming up that you would like people to know about?


Scott: Yeah. Thank you so much. Thank you for having me. My book is coming out winter 2024, so that could be anywhere from January to April. We don't have an exact date yet, but follow me on TikTok and Facebook and go to our website, your profile dot com to discover your own interview style and receive a customized 40-page results so you can find out what impression you're making. Are you a charmer, challenge or examiner or harmonizer in interviews? And if you follow me on social, I'll start making announcements about when the book comes out.


Scott: We'll be doing pre-sale pretty soon, and the book unpacks each one of those interview styles and walks you through using client anecdotes. What are the strengths and weaknesses of each interview style? And I weave my personal story throughout the book as well. So, you know, right now you get your own shift, probably. Discover who you are. And then in a couple of months you'll be able to get the book and figure out all the interview styles. So stay tuned. Follow me on Social. I'm always doing tips on how to do better and how to get motivated through the job search because it's hard to look for a job.


Scott: It is. It is. And I really appreciate you coming on today to discuss such an important and increasingly relevant topic. Thanks for the conversation and I hope to talk to you again soon.


Scott: Absolutely. Thank you so much for having me. It was fun.


Scott: When you visit Ship Profile's website, one of the things they explain on their about page is the difference between a successful interview and a bad interview is often just a small shift, a shift in our behavior, tone of voice. Our answer often unlocks the next opportunity. When it comes to the way a company communicates with consumers. There are parallels. A shift in tone or word choice can unlock new opportunities, or a shift in approach can elevate customer relationships or company cultures.


Scott: The first step is that willingness to shift. As always, all of the relevant links on this episode can be found in the show notes. You can find all of that on Scott Murray online dot com. My services are also found there. You can also enquire about me speaking at an event or being a guest on your podcast. There are a number of ways you can reach out to me, including email at Scott at Scott Murray online dot com. I'd like to thank our guest Anna Papalia for joining us today and thank you for joining me on Get the Message.

Anna PapaliaProfile Photo

Anna Papalia

Founder and CEO of Shift Profile

Anna Papalia created Shift Profile, an industry leading personality assessment that teaches job seekers and hiring managers how to interview better. The former Director of Talent Acquisition and Career Coach founded Shift in 2011 to empower job seekers with self- awareness and teach hiring managers that the most important business decisions are made in interviews.