How to Overcome Your Shyness for an Interview

So you’re shy. Being outgoing is not exactly a talent the majority has been blessed with. That being said, coming into an interview and giving one word answers will not exactly make the impression that gets you the job. Here are a few ideas to help you get over the intimidating first meeting.


              1. Don’t Focus too Much On Your Nerves

You have a purpose there, to get the job. You absolutely cannot be thinking about how hard this might be for you or how you’re not going to get the job anyway. There is no room for negative thinking once you’re in. They already chose you based on your resume, all you have to do is put the cherry on top. This is your chance to not be neurotic and stuck in your own head. Learn as much as you can about your potential employer by listening. You hear that? You don’t have to talk so much anyway. If the interviewer stops talking, ask another question and listen away. People who are outgoing enjoy talking and they will gladly fill in the silence you were so nervous about.

               2. Fake it ‘till You Make It

OK that might be a cliché but that does not mean it won’t help you. Let’s face it. You know no one can do the job as well as you. The interviewer has yet to find out this useful piece of information that will determine the status of your employment. Now, there are two things you need to focus getting out there. One is emphasizing your qualifications. The latter is showing that you are listening. If you are really getting into it, again, you should even ask the interviewer a few questions. To do so without stumbling, try using short sentences. Most importantly, try practicing. It would be best to do so with a friend that you have known and have no problem being open with. If none are available at the moment, try using a mirror. Or post a picture of someone you like on the wall and pretend to talk to them. Prepare your answers so they are straightforward.  Basically, if someone asks: “Why do you feel you’d be a good fit in our company?” You can answer: “My previous work in such and such was very similar to the work you are doing here.” But don’t stop there, make sure to give an example. Such as “The work Magnet Corp has done with magnets is very similar to the research I have done on them. Now I would like to apply my research. Two magnets with positive charges with move away from each other. Perhaps I could prove otherwise.” Obviously that’s an example, but the point is, focus on the knowledge you are confident with and the rest will just fall in.

And Make sure to take the picture you were talking to off the wall when you’re done. A lot of questions will arise to those who didn’t have previous knowledge about your exercise.


             3. Make sure your handshake is firm and you smile

When you come in and leave, perfect these basics. They will be the impressions that last without you being too aware of it. A firm handshake will offer muscle memory and muscle memory makes the brain remember you. A firm handshake lets someone know you mean business. If you smile, your interviewer will know you are pleasant and happy to be where you are. Combine the two and voilà! No one even knew you were shy.

Remember, sometimes being outgoing means that you say the wrong thing because it’s the first thing that came to mind. Just look at it from the angle that you have the time to calculate every thought before you say it. You’re taking a pause to find the courage to speak and you also have the time to really think through an answer.


Pitfalls of Networking Events

During a recent networking event, I realized that although I had only been working for a few months after graduating college, my hand shaking skills were not in tip top shape. There were a few things that I said that might have sounded awkward to someone who had never met me before. I certainly did not do anything inappropriate, but I am not sure I was on my A Greeting Game.

Working in an office for eight hours a day five days a week gets a person into a routine. The people you speak to on a daily basis rarely change. Except for some turnover or the clients you may call, we feel we have communication down to a T, which leads us to lose some of our interpersonal skills. You might be great speaking with someone on the phone, you might even work in customer service, in which case all you do is talk to people, but it’s easy to forget that face-to-face communication may be difficult if you’re used to speaking to the same ten people by the water cooler about TV shows on the night before.

  1. Taking Over the Conversation

This was a hypothetical networking event, but let’s face it, any event we go to that has multiple people we have never met before has networking potential. As such, you certainly do not want people to think you are not interested in them. There are certainly things that you can do to insure that you’re not standing there, telling people about your job or pet for too long. When a person you’re speaking to gets bored they will begin to look around the room. They might ask to leave to refill their glass. Anything that shows a waning interest should give you a good clue that it might be time to switch topics. The easiest way to do so would be to say: “Has this ever happened to you?” If you really feel like the only reason you were still talking is because you’re trying to fill dead space, maybe it’s a good idea to walk over to another group with your discussion partner. This way, the person you are speaking to knows you are still interested in them but you have also picked up on their subtle clues. Instead of filling time with nothing, expand your network effectively.

2. Don’t forget to Circulate

This brings me to my next point. People attending a gathering, and this is the case with human psychology, tend to stick with a group that forms early into the evening. Humans get anxious around people they do not know and after getting through their anxiety once, might not want to do so again.  Plus, why move onto something else if you are enjoying the conversation and the people in your standing circle? But again, you’re networking. Do not give people dirty looks as they attempt to enter your circle. Make sure you make people attempting to speak to you feel comfortable, like your collective is open to new ideas. It’s already much harder for one person to join a group because now not only are they worried about making one impression, they are worried everyone else in the circle might be judging them. Networking is nerve-racking enough, do not make it harder by creating a clique. If you notice that you keep creating circles around yourself, make sure you step away. If you do so repeatedly, congratulations! you are what they call “the life of the party,” and you should definitely be using your great people skills to their maximum potential.

3. Complaining

Do not stand around complaining that you do not have a job or that the event is just too dull. You never know if your next employer is at the event. Also, as mentioned before, networking is not really about your personal preferences, it’s about socializing, having a good time and making connections. People might care if you prefer to live in New York vs New Jersey, but they certainly don’t care to know that you would have preferred not to spend money on a ticket that does not at least offer a free drink. Which brings me to my last point…

4. Do not Drink more than a glass or your best minimum.

You might be able to handle your liquor but how many people at this event know that? Honestly, when a person repeatedly go back to the bar and order more beers, a lot of questions arise. Is that person is not comfortable in their own skin? or Why are they wasting money like that (bar drinks are pricey) at an event for meeting people and holding discussions? It certainly will not put your best foot forward at an event that’s about presenting the best of what you have to offer to someone’s network.


What you should do is have fun, socialize, exchange business cards, follow up when you get home and of course, do not forget to Smile.