Dr. Helen

Interviewing While Shy

I picked up the latest edition of What Color Is Your Parachute? 2014: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers and started reading. If you are not familiar with this book, it is the basic manual for job hunters that is updated yearly by the author to include current trends and focuses on the psychology of the job search and on one’s personality style as much as technique and interviewing skills.

One section that caught my eye was on Networking and overcoming the handicap of shyness (page 130). Richard Bolles, the author, points out that though many people do not want to think of themselves as shy, “surveys have found that as many as 75% of us have been painfully shy at some point in our lives. Many of us still are.”

The suggestion is to combat shyness by being enthusiastic. If one is enthusiastic about a topic under discussion, they forget they are shy. The book puts together a three-stage plan to cure job-hunters of shyness. One needs to do practice interviewing, informational interviewing and employment interviewing with the person who has the power to hire you. He goes through each one of these types of interviewing and how to practice them. The book even includes practice interview questions that one can use with someone who shares them enthusiasm about a topic. This interview should be limited to just 10 minutes so that there is not anxiety over taking too much of someone’s time up. The questions to practice with include “How did you get involved with /become interested in this? What do you like most about it? Who else would you suggest I talk to who shares this interest?”

The book seems like a very good one for job hunters and certainly would be helpful for those who are shy at interviews or have trouble with the process.