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TD Magazine Article

What Is Your Interview Style?

A review of Interviewology: The New Science of Interviewing by Anna Papalia.


Mon Apr 01 2024


Interviewology: The New Science of Interviewing

By Anna Papalia


Harper Business, 256 pp., $32.99

As an experienced HR professional, Papalia quickly learned that interviewing isn't a scientific process. Too often, applicants simply memorize canned responses to prepare for interviews. In addition, preconceived notions influence hiring managers.

In search of answers about modern interview pitfalls, Papalia began gathering data. Her research—which forms the basis of Interviewology—reveals that both applicants and hiring managers have a lack of dedicated self-searching, a discovery that led to the author developing an interview-style self-assessment.

The results of Papalia's years-long research yielded four interviewing styles that, she concludes, need to play a larger role in interview planning. Her scientifically verified assessment gives applicants and interviewers a more robust selection tool at their disposal. With the assessment, Papalia gives both applicants and interviewers the tools and strategies necessary to improve their interview behaviors.

The assessment centers around the four basic interviewing styles: the charmer (eager to be liked and sees self as a star on a stage); the challenger (wants their own questions answered in cross-examination style); the examiner (sees interviewing as a knowledge test where precise answers are necessary); and the harmonizer (adaptable, agreeable, and sees the interview as a team tryout).


The author explains succinctly and in everyday language the characteristics and behaviors of each style. She notes that fragments of one or more styles may characterize the same person. Additionally, unexpected characteristics may appear that could further compromise the outcome of an interview.

The book provides specific examples, many of which come from Papalia's life experiences. For instance, how do you, as a warm and easygoing applicant, relate to a hiring manager who is direct and all business? Because you are a flexible applicant who prefers to improvise in interviews, you may have difficulty responding to on-task questions without first engaging in small talk.

In addition, there are important takeaways, footnotes, and useful tables and graphics to help readers further understand different interview styles.

Interviewology's intent is for readers to consider and prepare for the interview styles they may encounter. Interview participants who have prepared beforehand using Papalia's self-assessment approach will be better for it. They will have gained a sharper understanding of how they relate to others and will be better able to adapt.

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