If the thought of public speaking puts you into cold sweats and you’d rather do almost anything (anything at all) than be cross-examined and challenged by a stranger during a job interview, then the traditional job search process may be a long and winding road for you. But interviews are among our most entrenched cultural traditions, and they won’t disappear from the hiring process any time soon. Employers will always want to meet with candidates in person before they bring them on board, so the best you can do right now is make the most of the situation. Work around your social anxieties, or even better, use them to your advantage. Here are a few moves that can help shy candidates project confidence.
Own your shyness.
Instead of hiding or denying your anxiety, simply own it from it from the start. Explain that you’re a little shy and you intend to work around it. This might prevent confusion if you happen to give off mixed signals in an effort to hide your true feelings. Besides, most employers will completely understand that your anxiety has nothing to do with your competence on the job.
Work on one problem at a time.
If your shyness runs from head to toe and influences almost everything you do and say, focus on controlling just one aspect of your body language. Don’t try to tackle the entire project at once. You aren’t a professional actor, and completely faking your entire persona won’t get you anywhere. Try focusing on eye contact,
for example. Or work on maintaining a level voice.
Bring the conversation back to your areas of strength.
Shy people often feel a wave of confidence and interest when they’re talking about something that inspires them or lights up their passions. Do yourself a favor and push the conversation toward areas that will bring out the best in you. If you know a certain topic will help you shine, bring up the subject and let your inner light do the rest.
People like to talk about themselves, even employers during a job interview. Asking polite, genuine questions can serve as a legitimate way to keep the spotlight from blinding you while still creating a meaningful dialogue that can help the two of you understand each other. Make sure your questions are serious and listen carefully to the answers.
If you’re already worried about landing the job, worrying about how worried you are won’t help you. Worrying about your shyness won’t help you either. Try to stay in the present and enjoy the moment (even if it seems impossible).
Don’t focus on the outcome; focus on the process.
For more on how to overcome shyness and let your competence and confidence shine through during your interview, contact the Charlotte job search experts at PSU.