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Job Interview Tips for the Shy

Focus on applying for jobs you feel passionate about. If you’re passionate about the topic, you’re likely to forget about feeling shy (well, at least for a little while maybe!).

Focus on the interviewer. They might be as nervous as you are.  Focus on putting them at ease—they’ll appreciate it and it will help to take some of the emphasis off of you.  You may never be a Chatty Cathy but you could master the art of asking people questions to get them to talk about themselves (and they might never notice how shy you really are).

Be yourself and tell your story. People win jobs because of how well they tell the story of their experience and passion.  You might be overqualified but if you don’t communicate what you know and how your know it, how is anyone else supposed to know?  Give some thought to answering “Tell me about you” and “Why do you want this job?” in a compelling way. How can you translate what you know in your heart in a way that will make sense to others?  If you lost a horse due to sickness when you were a child and that motivated you to get trained as a veterinarian, that makes sense.  If you became a vegan chef after spending time in southwest Georgia where diabetes and heart disease are epidemic and you resolved to create delicious plant-based meals to support people making healthy food choices, there’s a story. How did you come to want to do what you’re applying to do? Tell that story well and shyness will be no obstacle.

Prepare for your interview by reflecting on your work experience so you can march into the interview with a cache of memorable stories and experiences to choose from.  If possible, reminisce with someone you worked with.  Ask them to remind you of some of your standout moments so they’re fresh in mind.

Pump iron, work your grip strength, or have your best friend pump you up before going to your interview. Or be your own best friend and tell yourself “My best is good enough.”  Trust means knowing that you can count on yourself whatever the outcome is.