The interview was actually going great, and I was somewhat confident I’d be hired for none other than Apple. Corporate. Working from home. The good life.
It was for a customer service position (really, yes), and I’d been doing similar for a vendor for the past three months. My contract was up, and Apple was interested in hiring a bunch of us at the site. My options were either 1) lose my job, or 2) get hired by Apple. Can’t say it was all that difficult.
But as I was quizzed on how to troubleshoot, de-escalate customers, and handle complex situations, a question came up about keeping someone calm when I didn’t know how to solve the issue.
I don’t remember my answer in total, but I remember how I ended it:
“Fake it ’til you make it.”
The interviewers cocked their heads, quizzing me about what I meant by faking it.
Oh boy, here we go . . .
I didn’t want to mischaracterize my work as being a fake, but there were a lot of skills I had to come by unnaturally.
Confidence. Tech savvy. Affability. Empathy.
I wanted to be a good agent, so I’d sound confident. Direct. Measured. Succinct. And people thought I was confident.
I’d land maybe one or two jokes to break tension, and people found that humorous. And so they thought, ‘hey, this guy is funny.‘
People responded to someone who could relate to their issue. I learned to make the sounds, say the words, lean into the yearning, situate myself into someone’s shoes and the miles they just walked and respond in kind.
Apparently, that’s empathy. I know how it sounds and acts, just . . . not how it feels.
Back to the interview, I pivoted well enough: told ’em I didn’t mean “making stuff up,” but that confidence and expertise are just what you present, not what you possess.
It made sense.
And here I am, still at Apple after 9 years, still “faking” what I don’t have until I make it into what I do have.