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Interview Tips for Shy Folks

Interviewing Strategies


I know that likeability is one of the major factors that virtually all employers look for in virtually all employees. I’m nice enough, but I tend to be rather shy. How can I demonstrate that I’m likeable in the one situation – the job interview – that brings out my shyness the most?


Fear not. Shy people tend to be very likeable. Extroverts love shy people because they (the shy ones) tend to listen well.
Here are some other ways to show how likeable you are:

• Use your body language. Lean in, just a little bit, toward the interviewer. Keep your arms at your sides, rather than crossed in front of you. Nod and smile; say “uh-huh,” or whatever other approving sound occurs to you. Show a reasonable amount of energy.
• Do your best to remember the person’s name, and use it frequently. Most people love the sound of their own name.
• Be pleasant. This usually isn’t difficult for shy people, but showing it off might be. Smile, answer in full sentences, laugh as appropriate, behave in a friendly manner. Encourage the interviewer to believe that you’re happy to be there.
• Allow yourself to be easily impressed. Show appreciation for whatever information the interviewer shares with you. Ask questions; let the interviewer show off a little bit.
• Be willing to be a little vulnerable and to laugh at yourself; but don’t overdoing the self-deprecating humor.
• Tell stories about your successes, but throw in a couple about how you helped people (again demonstrating that niceness.)

Bottom line: Don’t allow your shyness to take over the interview. You will probably tend to want to say as little as possible, but that won’t get you the job. The interviewer knows you have the skills; now show him that you’ll fit into the company too.


About the Author

Beth Davis-Reinhold

Beth Davis-Reinhold is an instructor at Frederick County Workforce Services, where she has worked for over 20 years. She teaches job search seminars and basic computer skills. She is a Certified Professional Resume Writer, and is Internet and Computing Core Certified (IC3). Beth has been a member of Toastmasters International for more than 15 years, and is an Advanced Communicator Silver. A graduate of Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, Beth has also studied American Sign Language for many years. In addition to many sundry projects for FCWS, Beth writes its “Ask the Career Coach” blog.