Out of 500 applicants, 12 got interviews. Out of 12 interviews, 6 got second interviews. Out of 6 follow-up interviews, I landed the job. Pretty awesome, right? Here’s how I did it.

I thought my job interview was a disaster

The funny thing is I left the job interview and cried in my car, thinking that I had completely failed because I flubbed over some words at times. I also felt horribly under-qualified. While the job was with the public relations department–where I had extensive knowledge–I had no experience in the specific field they focused on and no experience in the work I would actually be doing.

So how did I beat out 500 other applicants when I had no inside connection to the company and was competing with individuals who were better qualified than I was?

Apparently, it’s because I have a great attitude.

I recently had a discussion with my supervisor, who gave me the rundown of my hiring process. While there were candidates with better qualifications and more experience in this particular field, no one apparently had the cheerfulness that I had at my interview.

And my department was seriously looking for some pep. After I took the job, I quickly realized there was a lot of contentious rapport throughout our department. Hiring me helped level out the field, and bring more peace and overall friendliness. Our department is now pretty evenly split between the pessimists who say “That’s a problem” and the optimists who respond “Find me a solution.”

The key to acing my job interview

While I needed some qualifications and experience to land an interview in the first place, what really made me stand out from the rest of the candidates was my ability to convey my positive go-getter attitude.

And how did I convey a great attitude? I smiled a lot. Throughout my entire job interview, I had a smile on my face. And your interview begins as soon as you park your car. Apparently, my supervisors asked the receptionist and the HR rep how I interacted with them.

The point is, you never know what a company is specifically looking for. They may want someone with the right qualifications, but they may also be looking for someone who is a right fit for the company. Would you rather work with someone who is super qualified and a grump or someone who is extremely friendly but may need some minor training?

My department could have hired someone better qualified for the job, but they really wanted someone who would bring a positive attitude to the position. They figured they could train me on the rest.

And now I have a job I love, with people I like working with, with benefits that are amazing—and it’s all because I smiled.