Advice on How a Shy Person Can Succeed in a Job Interview

A job interview is among the most tortuous requirements for getting ahead in contemporary America that you are likely to encounter. This torture becomes three times worse than watching a Joan Rivers TV special if also happen to have a shy personality. The shy person is simply not constructed for success when it comes to the job interview. Advice on how a shy person can succeed in a job interview are many, however, so take these tips to heart and get over your natural reticence toward selling yourself to strangers.

Learn to Smile

Even someone with a natural tendency toward shyness can learn to smile on command. A great smile can help you overcome that reticence toward speaking. If you are a shy young person just starting out on the road to adult career endeavors, you should already start taking care of your teeth by getting them fixed if crooked and whitened if spotty. Practice having a great smile because, as lame as it may be, a brilliant smile can in some instances work even better than a brilliant intellect.

Take a Public Speaking Class

A job interview is not normally a case of public speaking, but you never know how big the audience for the interview may be. A job interview could mean just one guy from human resources or it could be a table behind which sit five or six people. The shy job applicant needs to understand that whatever the situation at hand, a job interview actually is a case of public speaking and the more comfortable you can become, the better. Enroll in a public speaking or speech class if for no other reason than the experience of getting up before strangers and talking. It will help relax you before the pressure of the real situation involved in the job interview becomes a huge obstacle.

Prepare Stories Ahead of Time

A job interview is the perfect opportunity to engage in storytelling talents. Unfortunately, most shy people don’t possess this talent. When you interview for a job, you may be asked for either hypothetical or actual examples of how you would perform under specific circumstances. The best possible approach in this case is to understand as much as you can about the job itself and then arrived already prepared with either actual or hypothetical stories that relate to the tasks involved. Shyness tends to make you uncomfortable which can create a huge stumbling block that obstructs your ability to think on your feet. A shy person may not be able to recall a very real, funny and instructive story that is applicable while a person who is not shy may be able to quickly come up with a hypothetical story that isn’t nearly as funny or instructive. If you arrive at the job interview with your anecdotes, stories and examples already intact and ready to be shared, you can overcome one achingly awful aspect of being shy.

Eye Contact


Shy, timid, introverted and withdrawn people often have trouble making eye contact. The problem in a job interview is that this may be mistakenly attributed not to being shy, but to being untrustworthy. When a person fails to look you in the eye there is room for a natural suspicion toward disbelief in that person’s integrity. Your shyness is a big enough problem; you don’t need to compound the situation by having your integrity called into question. Practice eye contact and do all you can to get past any organic predisposition to avoid looking directly at a person during conversation.