03/21/2013 02:24 pm ET Updated May 21, 2013

The Phrase That Got Me Hired

"I am an excellent online shopper." Yes, that is the line that got me hired.

No, surprisingly I am not employed at Zappos or any other large online shopping company. Actually, the position that I have doesn't even require any type of online shopping. I work for a kick ass technology company in the town of Wayne, Pa.

After graduating from school 10 months ago, I stepped into a unique environment. However, my journey to this big girl job wasn't as easy as snapping my fingers (which I guess you have to expect during these times).

April of my senior year in college, I began the pleasant (and I hope you can sense my sarcasm) interview process for full time jobs. So after sending out literally about a million resumes, I got my first phone call back #winstatus.

First thought: Let's drink a beer... kidding,-ish.

So, naturally I tell everyone how excited I am, can't wait, and begin to do my research on the company so I don't look like a fool when they ask me what they do. I wake up that morning, run through my routine and hit the road. I pull into the parking lot a solid half hour early and reread my notes one more time.

I get up to the large glass doors and my tiny hands feel even smaller as I push the door open. My nerves start to envelop me and it's an overwhelmingly uncomfortable feeling. If there is one thing in the world that I love to do, its talk and well... that's all an interview is so what's up with the sweaty palms?

I blacked out.

Not literally, but if you asked me anything about that first big girl interview, I couldn't tell you anything except that it was nothing short of horrible. I get to my car and try not to think about the last awful hour of my life; I had to go announce a men's lacrosse game (best way to get paid in college).

I get into the box and look over the roster, figuring out how to pronounce some last names. The Assistant Athletic Director comes up to me and energetically asks "How'd the big girl interview go?" "Horrible" was my response. He responds "Nah, everyone says that. Seriously, how'd it go?" "Terrible, seriously" was my salty response. "Liz, come on now how'd it go..."

The response he got back was not filled with words, but huge tears and a runny nose. When I cry, some "it sounds like I just ran a marathon" heaving comes along with it.


I strung together some sentences containing the words: homeless, living with my parents forever, broke and student loans. When I look up with my tear-filled eyes, I see a face semi-panicked and semi-shell shocked because, well, he is a guy and this twenty-some-year-old supposed "woman" is literally having a meltdown, and he's nowhere near a vending machine to get chocolate.

He naturally rebounds, and gives me a pep talk that everyone has these bad interviews and to just be myself and eventually I'll find somewhere that I fit, and that fits with my lifestyle.

Two weeks later I get an email to come and interview at this company in Wayne. I accept the request for the interview a little discouraged by fear that the exact same thing will happen. I go through the same process as before, begin my research and pick out the outfit to wear on the upcoming day.

So the day quickly approaches and it's the morning of the interview. I walk through the doors of the very open office space, and once again I literally couldn't tell you a damn thing I said.

Whatever it was, I got the job #gettinpaper.

It wasn't until a few weeks ago that I actually learned what I said. I was talking with the COO about a new person who we wanted to join the marketing team, and he said "I can tell you the exact phrase that meant we knew we should hire you."

Naturally, I ask what it was, assuming it was something profound about my work ethic, creativity, or professionalism. Something you know, adult-ish.

We asked you at the end of the interview, if you had anything else to tell us about yourself, that we hadn't covered. You thought about it for a while, and with a dead serious look on your face you said, 'I am an excellent online shopper.'

I'll give you a second to scrape your chin off the floor because I needed it as well. The COO basically explained to me that they never expected to hear that in an interview, but that was part of the charm of the moment.

He made me realize that it isn't always just your skill set or experience that is important in the interview, but they are really looking to make sure that you are a cultural fit. So when people tell you to be yourself, you should, because if I didn't, I probably wouldn't have had the opportunity to work in an environment that fits me as well as it does.