The Point

by Dian Reid-Jancic· Follow Dian on

The job was everything I wanted. 1.0 miles from home. Small company. Customer Service. Decent pay (which turned into exceptional pay in a short time). A chance to shine. Friendly people. A place to grow. A perfect fit for me. I worked for Regency Lighting for nearly 8 years before I left to follow my dreams. And 4 years into that job, I learned that I almost didn’t get it.

I walked into the second interview, confident that the job was mine. I’d interviewed with the Director of Human Resources just two days prior, and all had gone well. Now I was meeting Vickie McCoy, then the Manager of all of Customer Service for Regency. As soon as I met Vickie, my confidence went out the window.

Her handshake was firm. Her eyes were bright. She seemed personable, but with just the look in her eyes, I knew she was there to size me up. To see if I’d fit into what she had made of Customer Service. I knew in an instant that she wouldn’t just be evaluating my qualifications, but she’d be evaluating my character. She fired her questions at me. I answered them. I was nervous, but I felt things were going…okay. And then she asked me what she’d see different in me on 6 months. To which I replied, What you get is what you see. I’m consistent and you won’t see a change in me, I’ll be the same then as I am now.

Vickie had a notion to thank me for my time right then and there and end the interview. Something told her to dig deeper. She stopped the interview and said, Really? Because you seem a little stiff. And she was right.

Without missing a beat, a slumped in my chair and relaxed. I stretched out my legs and crossed them at the ankles. I slung my elbows over the back of the couch like I was watching TV at home. I let out a sigh of relief and said, Wow, this is so much better. And that’s how I got hired.

The point here isn’t the job or getting hired. The job was right for me, and I nearly missed out on 8 years of the best job of my life because I answered questions according to what I thought my audience wanted to hear. I’ve laughed with Vickie about my interview numerous times since she shared that she wasn’t going to hire me until my slouch. The odd thing about it was that it didn’t even occur to me that anything was out of place or that I almost didn’t get hired. I was completely unaware until later reflection. And upon reflection, I see that the most important part of my interview was everything after I relaxed.

Once I was relaxed, the conversation just flowed. It was less like an interview, and more like catching up with an old acquaintance. We talked about being a team player and then somehow related her Customer Service team to baseball—something I could get excited and passionate about, the same way I get excited and passionate about performing well, helping others perform well, and my general knack for taking care of customers (all the things she was looking for). From there, Vickie could get a sense of who I was and whether or not I was right for the job she was hiring for.

My authentic self was able to shine through once I relaxed, no longer forced to hide behind the bars of what I thought anyone else wanted to hear.

And that is the point.

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